True, the traditional "eating holidays" like Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday occur during the colder months. No matter the month, though, diet disasters are sure to pop up. That's why Karen Ansel, a registered dietitian in Long Island, New York, decided to write her new book with CNN diet and fitness expert Melina Jampolis, M.D. The Calendar Diet: A Month to Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Life shows readers how to fit in their skinny jeans—and make smart, healthy choices—from Valentine's Day to Cinco de Mayo to Halloween. Here are Ansel's top tips to outsmart seasonal diet traps:
- Pack travel snacks. "For car trips or when you'll be staying at a hotel, bring energy bars and portion-controlled bags of nuts, crackers and dried fruit. This way, you won't be as tempted by fast food restaurants or the hotel mini bar."
- Store pantry staples. "The key to maintaining a healthy diet when you're busy is a well-stocked pantry so you don't dial for Chinese takeout on a busy evening or when you're just back from a trip. Items like pasta and beans last a long time and can make a nice meal in a hurry."
- Order drinks on ice. "Frosty drinks, like sweetened iced teas and margaritas, can increase your calorie total for the day very quickly. Ask for plenty of ice and order your margarita on the rocks rather than blended. It's automatic portion control and will keep you from downing glass after glass too fast."
- Skip the chips. "With Cinco de Mayo and outdoor picnics approaching, keep in mind that a few big handfuls of tortilla chips can be 500 calories! I tell me clients to skip them because it's really hard to stop after just a few. Cut red and yellow peppers into strips and dip them into a mix of salsa and guacamole."
- Go fish. "Shrimp fajitas and fish tacos are wise choices whether your hosting a barbecue or dining out. Skip the cheese and pile on veggies for a filling, satisfying meal."
- Plan ahead. "It's all about balance. If you know your dinner is going to be heavy on macaroni salad and hamburger buns, try to get plenty of protein, fruits and vegetables in your breakfast and lunch."
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