Shopping on an Empty Stomach
You're stuck at the mall, practically ready to chew off your own arm. Oh, look, there's the food court, and don't those cinnamon buns look good?
Stash a snack in your bag—even if you're keeping your shopping spree short. "The best portable options have no more than 200 calories and pack 5 grams each of fiber and protein," says Taub-Dix, who recommends packing a slice of whole wheat bread spread with almond butter. Granola bars are another nutritious grab-and-go choice. "Look for those with fewer than 8 grams of sugar each, such as Kashi TLC chewy granola bars," says Taub-Dix. If it's lunchtime and you're famished, go ahead and visit the food court—just pick a restaurant that allows you to build your own meal. Whichever counter you end up at, follow these rules of thumb: "Start with a lean protein base that's grilled, not fried, then pile on steamed vegetables," says Patricia Bannan, R.D., a dietitian in Los Angeles. "And request calorie-rich sauces and dressings on the side." At Panda Express, for example, you might order grilled chicken, then mix in some steamed broccoli, mushrooms, and string beans. In the mood for Mexican? Consider a black bean taco loaded with veggies, such as fresh salsa, corn, and peppers, at Chipotle. Still tempted by that sticky mountain of baked goodness? Because you're already in indulgence mode, splurging on that cinnamon bun can be easy to justify. "Redefine your idea of a treat," says Bannan. Pamper yourself with a nonfood item instead—say, a pretty new nail polish or bracelet.