Snacks for holiday shoppers

photo: teamaskins via Flickr

The holiday shopping season can be a dieter’s nightmare.  Running around, skipping meals, suddenly hit with hunger and fatigue, you seek out the quickest source of refreshment.  Plenty of fast food restaurants and coffee shops are hoping you turn to one of their holiday-themed beverages for that pick-me-up.  They come in seasonal flavors like eggnog and peppermint, and you can head out the door with your drink to keep on shopping.  Unfortunately, you could be heading out the door with a load of calories.  Check out these 5 options currently available from national chains:

  1. Peppermint chocolate chip milkshake from Chick-fil-A — 660 calories in a small shake
  2. Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks — 500 calories in a Venti size
  3. McDonald’s Eggnog Shake — 680 calories for medium size
  4. Jamba Juice Eggnog Jubilee Smoothie — 550 calories for the Original size
  5. Caribou Coffee Fa La Latte —  520 calories for the large size

Those have enough calories to replace an entire lunch.  The best plan would be to avoid getting sucked into a shopping frenzy.  Take a break, grab a real lunch or dinner or afternoon snack, with simple coffee, tea or water.  But if that’s not realistic, you can carry some quick snacks, like bars (I like the Kind brand) or a baggie with a mix of nuts, dried fruit, dry cereal or granola and perhaps chocolate chips.  Like trail mix, except it’s shopping mix.  Or if you know you’ll be driving from one place to another, keep some easy snacks in the car, like fruit or a nut butter sandwich, along with a water bottle.

Keep your sanity by sticking to an exercise schedule and eating real meals on days you aren’t busy shopping or decorating.  If you do give in to that peppermint mocha, don’t despair.  Treat it like a meal, move on.  In a month, those seasonal specials will be gone and we’ll be back to healthier eating.

Shopping Mix

2 cups roasted peanuts or other nuts like almonds, cashews or hazelnuts.

3 cups dried fruit, such as raisins, craisins, dried cherries, dried blueberries, or dried apricot chunks

optional: 2 cups plain chex-like cereal

optional (or maybe essential, depending on your viewpoint): 1 cup chocolate chips, preferably dark.

Mix everything together and store in a covered jar.  Dole out snack-size baggies for survival on prolonged shopping trips.

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