When you’re out buying holiday gifts for your family, friends and co-workers, the nearest mall is a likely stop. So, if you plan to make your shopping a full day affair and want to grab a bite to eat, you’re in luck—because, the mall food courts have just as many options as the mall itself. But the question is… WHAT food should you choose?
And Remember… You don’t need to have restaurant’s nutrition information at your fingertips to know that the chicken breast without mayo is a better choice than the double meat-patty burger with three kinds of cheese. But still, it helps to be aware of any potential pitfalls and to have general guidelines to follow… so here are some tips on how to stay fit during mall shopping:
1. Go for low-cal and low-fat options.
Selecting low fat foods can be a challenge, since nutritional information is not readily available. Stick with grilled or steamed foods, and lots of vegetables. Also, chicken is obviously lower in calories and fat than in beef or pork… However, be sure that you’re getting grilled chicken, or lean deli meat, and not a breaded, fried chicken breast.
2. Watch condiments.
Just a teaspoon of mayonaise contains close to 100 calories and 11 grams of fat. Mustard, and ketchup are better options (1 tsp of ketchup: 5.2 cal, 0 g fat; 1 tsp Dijon mustard: 6 calories, 0 g fat; 1 tsp barbecue sauce: 9.9 calories, 0 g fat). However, be aware that even low-fat options are often high in sodium.
3. Be smart with salads.
Is “I’ll just have a salad” your standard answer to eating out? (that would be mine!!)… However, salads aren’t always a calorie bargain, especially if they’ve been piled with meats and cheeses and topped with oily, creamy dressings—three tablespoons of blue cheese dressing is about 232 calories and 24 grams of fat. So do what I do and order your salad with a low-fat or fat free dressing, or get your dressing on the side. I do that all the time… There are more fast food restaurants – now offering salads made from romaine lettuce or spring greens. SO, choose one of them over a salad made from iceberg lettuce, which doesn’t have as many vitamins.
4. Think Healthy
If the food court is a big temptation, and you will find yourself obsessed over the burgers and greasy fries…then stay away!!! Drink plenty of water on your shopping day and take along delicious Medifast ready to drink shakes and a bar to power you up!
5. Drink water.
Or diet soda, or unsweetened iced tea. Most food courts offer a variety of other beverage choices, from fruit smoothies to specialty coffees, most of these choices are high in sugar and calories. Some pack a hefty dose of fat as well. So you have to be careful and beware!!
It’s no accident that a lot of people are now turning to mall-walking for their fitness programs. Shopping malls are safe, well-lit, protected from the elements, and their spacious. It won’t take much to turn your mall shopping into a workout as well… so here are some tips that are so easy to adapt to:
6. Walk Briskly A 150-pound individual will burn 169 calories in one hour walking 2 miles per hour (a leisurely stroll), but will boost the calorie burn to 271 calories by picking up the pace to 4.0 miles per hour.
7. Take the Stairs instead of the elevators If your mall has more than two stories and you don’t feel like you are up to walking more than one flight, go ahead and take the stairs up one flight and then take the elevator or escalator the rest of the way up.
8. Shop inefficiently park as far away from the mall entrance as possible (during the busy holiday season, you may not have a choice about this!) and visit stores in a zig-zag pattern, backtracking and covering as much ground as possible.
9. Consider bringing your own snacks with you when you go shopping. This will provide you with some extra fuel, especially if your energy level starts to drop. Good snack options include: Medifast ready to drink, medifast bars, cut up celery or other veggies in a baggie.
10. Carry a bottle of water with you, and take sips when you feel thirsty. This will prevent you from becoming dehydrated during your shopping. This is especially important as we often mistake thirst for hunger; by staying hydrated, you’ll be less susceptible to the aromas of the cookie and cinnamon roll stands.