Alright ladies. Today I want to talk shopping…
Somewhere between Black Friday and December 24th, shopping is no longer a leisure activity – it is a sport. Blood, sweat, and tears baby. My Starbucks latte is no longer just delicious, it is fuel. And yes, I am wearing sneakers.. with my skinny jeans. Because I will be walking around the mall for 4 hours looking for the perfect present and low heels will just slow me down.
But with the busy parking lots, long lines, and mobs of people, Mrs. Fields cookies start looking really good… and so do those free samples at Williams & Sonoma! (S’more bars?? So good!) The mall is full of delicious treats to sabotage our healthy eating habits, but with a few easy tips and tricks we can safely navigate our sexy little selves through the food court without temptation!
So to save our shopping trips! (and our waistlines) Ashley is guest posting today with a few of her Christmas Shopping Survial Tips! And after I’ve got a delish easy Hearty Minestrone Soup recipe you can make-ahead for a quick ready-to-eat meal when you get home!
The mall is packed with ample opportunities to quickly satisfy a food craving with something not-so-good for you. Whether it’s a vending machine, Dippin’ Dots, or a hot dog stand they usually have one thing in common: they are a quick source of energy but usually packed with calories and fat. What do you do when there is no time to spare as when you’re on a holiday shopping mission at the mall? Two words: plan ahead.
1.) Eat something within the hour before you leave for the mall to avoid food cravings once you arrive. Eat something that has both protein and/or fiber in it to keep you feeling full for longer (i.e. Greek yogurt, breakfast bar, sandwich, peanut butter and crackers).
2.) Bring water with you. Sometimes our brains mistake dehydration for feeling hungry.
3.) Come equipped some easy on-the-go snacks so you re-fuel without stopping (see below). You can leave a lunch bag in your car to keep food items cold if necessary.
4.) If you have no other options than to eat somewhere in the mall, be sure to think ahead and plan where you will eat. Consider what meal options are available. Look for restaurants with a wide range of menu items.
Healthy On-the-Go Snack Ideas (200-300 calories):
- Whole wheat pita cut into wedges with 2 tablespoons hummus for a dip
- Yogurt parfait: Layer 6 ounces fat-free yogurt, ½ cup berries and ¼ cup granola
- Trail mix: Mix 20 almonds, miniature box of raisins, and ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- One tablespoon peanut butter spread on slices of a medium apple
- Three cups air-popped popcorn
- Tri-color veggie snack: 6 baby carrots, 10 sugar snap peas (or green pepper strips), 6 cherry tomatoes and 2 tablespoons reduced-fat ranch dressing for dipping
- Mini-sandwich: Whole-grain dinner roll with 1 slice deli turkey, 1 slice low-fat cheese and mustard
- One 4-ounce fat-free, ready-to-eat vanilla pudding with ½ cup fresh fruit and 5 vanilla wafers
- Cinnamon-raisin mini-bagel spread with one tablespoon peanut butter
- Banana split: banana sliced length-wise topped with ½ cup frozen yogurt and a tablespoon of chopped nutshttp://www.eatright.org
So we’ve done good at the mall… followed Ash’s tips, healthy snacks, lots of water, and kept our cool. But now that we’re home, the absolute last thing that I want to do is cook a healthy meal. I’m tired, worn out, and want a quick fix! That’s why I love making soups ahead of time. Going shopping on Saturday? Make this soup for dinner on Friday and have the yummy leftovers the next day when you get home! Planning ahead is always your secret weapon :)
Yields 6-8 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
- 3 cups diced carrots (1/4 inch thick)
- 3 cups diced celery (1/4 inch thick)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes w/juices
- 6 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups cooked small whole wheat pastsa (such as ditalini, elbows, shells)
- 1 (15-ounce) can canellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 5 ounces baby spinach, torn
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- freshly grated parmesan, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and thyme. Cook until vegetables just begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, chicken stock, bay leaf, salt, and peppers and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Discard bay leaf. Add beans and cooked pasta and heat through. Add spinach and cook until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve each bowl of soup with fresh parmesan.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, Fool Proof