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What Can I Do to Offset Holiday Snacking?

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Q: What Can I Do to Offset Holiday Snacking?

A: According to one study published in the journal, Appetite, as little as 15 minutes of brisk walking can help take your mind off the sweet stuff, while giving your body a calorie-burning energy boost.

The 25 people who took part in the study were daily chocolate eaters who agreed to abstain from eating chocolate for three days before the study began. Chocolate cravings were significantly lower than the baseline levels for at least ten minutes after taking a walk. “Given that feeling lethargic, fatigued, and having the need for an energy boost has been associated with the consumption of high-energy foods, the present study highlights the importance of short bouts of physical activity as a substitute for other mood regulating behaviors such as sugar snacking,” the study’s authors commented.

Use exercise to ease the urge

  • When you feel an urge to snack coming on, opt for a quick walk instead. Studies have shown that even small amounts of exercise, when combined with slightly lower caloric intakes, can add up to big health gains. Be sure to keep tasty but healthy snacks on hand in case walking is not possible or you need a blood sugar boost.
  • Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. As you build muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not exercising. Mix it up: walk more places, try a new sport, look for new ways to incorporate movement into your lifestyle, so that you receive some cross-training benefits even on days you don’t make it to the gym or your bicycle seat.
  • Give green tea a try. Loaded with antioxidants and just a small amount of caffeine, green tea is a natural pick-me-up that can also help raise metabolism.

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