Give the gift of health!

The Get Healthy Staff would like to wish all our readers a Happy Healthy Holiday this year! And for those of you looking for the perfect healthy gift to give someone special, we have some great ideas below.

Stocking Stuffers

•Pedometer. Know someone who’s trying to start a simple exercise program? A pedometer, which counts each step a person takes and the distance they’ve walked, makes a perfect present for someone who’s trying to be more active.
•iPod or iTunes gift card. Combining entertainment and exercise often motivates people to jump on the treadmill who would otherwise be bored by going for a run or walk. You don’t just have to download music either; you can download books or movies to watch or listen to while exercising.

Gifts

• Instead of giving the neighbors more sugary goodies as a way to say happy holidays, think of giving a non-food related like a poinsettia plant. It’s a calorie free way of saying we were thinking of you during the holidays.

•Active video games for kids and adults. Your children want to play video games. You want them to go outside and get some exercise. Now there’s a solution you both can love and enjoy. Active video games, such as Dance Dance Revolution, the Nintendo Wii force players to get off the couch and burn calories.
 

•A massage gift certificate. Purchase a relaxing massage at a spa. Or create a home spa basket with essential oils, bath salts, massage oil, body lotions and a pumice stone. Relaxation and stress relief are important for overall good health.
•A bicycle. Bikes are a great way for kids and adults to get exercise. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, check out Goodwill stores or second hand shops. They often have good bikes that might need just a little work.
•Healthy cookbooks. How about a new cookbook that includes healthy recipes — maybe one with healthy soups, salads, vegetable sides dishes, whole grains or whole grain breads.
•Subscription to a magazine. Consider giving a year subscription to a magazine. There are several magazines that offer healthy recipes and tips, as well as magazines that focus on physical activity (biking, hiking, running, etc.) and relaxation.

• Instead of giving the grandkids gift certificates to the movies, give them gift certificates to do something active like lasertag, bowling, mini-golf or the trampoline jump place.

Fill up without Filling out

Its holiday party season and that means hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. How bad can these little finger foods be? They all seem small and innocent enough until you find yourself eating a meals worth before its even time for dinner. Be on the lookout for appetizers that will fill you up and not fill you out!
Shrimp Cocktail. About 10 calories each. Even with sauce, these yummy party staples are a great go-to for  filling up but not adding on too many calories. Keep the tails on your plate so you know how many you have eaten.
Chicken Skewer. About 60 calories each. As long as these are not fried and breaded you can munch on a few of these without doing too much damage. Opt out of the sauce to save from adding more calories.
Swedish meatball. 30 calories each. These little balls can take that edge off your hunger and buy you some time before you go munching on higher calorie snacks.
Mini Spinach Quiche. 60 calories, 4 grams of fat. Don’t let the green flecks of spinach fool you. The small amount of green will not reverse the butter and cheese packed in these little bite size treats. Our advice, one and done!
Pig in the Blanket. 100 calories, 8 grams of fat. Each pretty wrapped piggly-wiggly packs quite the calorie punch. Go easy on these. The night is long and these can spend your calorie budget fast.
Go to the party with a plan. Start with the veggies first. Thick twice about what you pick. And have fun!!

Mindful Eating when time is short and treats are everywhere

Have you ever been so busy or distracted with other things that you skipped lunch or forgot to eat? It doesn’t take long before your body reminds you that you are hungry. Your stomach growls or maybe you start to get a headache… and you know you need to eat.  Are there times while watching a commercial on TV about a very delicious looking food item that you find yourself craving whatever item they are trying to sell? Has a commercial ever decided for you that you are hungry?
Eating when we are hungry (physical hunger) and eating when we just want to eat (non-physical hunger) are two different types of eating. Non-physical hunger triggers include any reason to eat when we are not even physically hungry. This could even be called “head” hunger. Triggers cue our head to tell us we are “hungry”, bypassing our stomach and convincing us that we need to eat. It is important to be aware of the absence or presence of physical hunger.  Some examples of these triggers may include environmental ones, like automatically buying popcorn and other treats at the movie theater. Any type of sensory cue such as, sight, sound, or smell of food can be a trigger. Sometimes we even eat for emotional reasons, boredom or loneliness.

How to overcome non-physical hunger?
1.Check in with your physical hunger. Recognize the reason for eating. Learn to “touch” your hunger: is it below the shoulders or above? If it’s below then you can know it is physical hunger. Continue to check in with your level of hunger as you mindfully eat. Learn to recognize when you are full and remember that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal from your stomach that it is satisfied, so take your time and eat slowly.
2.Was your hunger above your shoulders, was it “head” hunger? Recognize triggers. Acknowledge that they are there and determine if you want to eat for pleasure or mindlessly. If it’s for pleasure, how much of that food item will it take to provide that enjoyment? If it’s mindless, talk yourself out of it and move on. let your physical hunger guide your eating.
3.Overcome “entitlement eating” and don’t look at food as a reward. “ I worked out so I deserve a treat”

Eating when a person is not physically hungry often leads to over eating, guilt and discomfort. Be aware of the triggers, make a plan for yourself and stick to your plan!