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Can you believe that it’s almost Thanksgiving?  If you’re like me, you haven’t yet started your holiday shopping and have a full list of deserving family and friends.  One way to make the shopping day easier is to take a break to recharge and have something to eat.  But what to eat?

Every year, the challenge is how to spend several hours shopping while keeping the kids entertained and not consuming foods that spoil their appetite or, for me, results in unwanted weight gain.  I would much rather save my calories for delicious holiday foods at parties than gain weight eating something heavy on the go.  If you are shopping with children, you know that they need to eat every few hours so plan ahead before you walk past the cookie or candy shops.  My kids like to select what they will eat so I work with them for some healthier choices.

The food court at the mall has many options but, some are certainly much better than others are.  I usually build up an appetite while shopping and, if I wait too long, everything looks scrumptious.  So to make smarter choices, I need to take a break and eat.  Whether it’s Chinese food, sandwiches or pizza, I look for options that will include a lean protein with some healthy carbs (like whole wheat, brown rice) and fats (olive oil, peanut oil).  I am looking for Chinese food that is lower in fat so, something like stir fried vegetables, lean chicken/fish/beef with broccoli or mushrooms, nothing breaded or fried.  Watch out for salads like Caesar salads, full of creamy dressing that may taste great but have a lot of calories.  My husband and I may split a sandwich and have a bowl of soup.  The kids like pizza so I look to see if there is a thin crust pizza.  I don’t want them to fill up on dough and then not eat dinner when we get home.  They also like to have just a bite or two of different things so I may buy a few items that we can all share.  That’s how we discovered that our kids liked Indian food. Who would have guessed?

If we are shopping in the afternoon, I may have a latte, made with nonfat milk, or some tea while the kids may have a yogurt parfait or a bit of fruit.  Sometimes, all we need to drink is a little to water to quench our thirst since the mall tends to be so warm.

I think it’s time to head out to the toy store.  The excitement of a toy store keeps the kids engaged and I need to find out what will be on Santa’s list.  Can anyone give tips on how to keep the cost down?

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