Fitness Friday: Snack attack, then hit the slopes
This will be the last Fitness Friday of 2012.
The blog will return Friday, Jan. 11. Happy holidays!
Happy Friday! Today, I am feeling a snack attack coming on. What do you enjoy for a snack?
With two out of three people in the U.S. being overweight (myself included), snacks could be the key to our unraveling.
A new study, “Association of Nutrient-Dense Snack Combinations With Calories and Vegetable Intake,” will be published in the January 2013 issue of Pediatrics and was released online Dec. 17, 2012. In the study, 201 children in third to sixth grades were randomly given one of four snacks: potato chips, cheese, vegetables, or a combination of cheese and vegetables.
Children given only cheese or only vegetables served as a control group to compare the effect of the snack conditions on caloric intake.
The children were asked to snack freely until they felt full, while watching a 45-minute cartoon.
Children who ate the combination snack consumed 72 percent fewer calories compared to children who ate potato chips, and they needed significantly fewer calories to feel satisfied.
Children offered only cheese consumed fewer calories than those who were served potato chips, suggesting that replacing potato chips with cheese can be a sufficient step in decreasing caloric intake.
If children were to eat nutrient-rich cheese and vegetables instead of unhealthy snack foods like potato chips, study authors conclude that children can consume fewer calories when snacking.
My advice following the study is to keep potato chips out of the house. You know if they are there, you will snack on them. Instead, stock up on veggies and cheese.
Beating the winter blahs
The winter is not my friend. With the days being shorter and the wind being so cold and harsh, all I want to do is cuddle up in my flannel pajamas and hibernate.
My son has other ideas.
He doesn't mind the cold. He still wants to play outside even if it is rainy and muddy. The boy never met a mud puddle he didn't love.
In an effort to be a more positive, upbeat mama, I have decided to try some winter sports to keep my son happy, but also to get that much-needed exercise.
I found this great article from Livestrong about cold-weather sports - have you tried any of these? What does your family do to keep active in the winter?
Types of Cold-Weather Sports
Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and snowshoeing are just a few sports that everyone in your family can try.
Skiing. Alpine (downhill) skiing is an easy sport to try, but novice skiers should take a lesson first and get instructions on staying safe. Many ski resorts have reasonably priced lessons for first-timers. A competent instructor can show kids the proper techniques while also ensuring they start on a hill that's appropriate for their skill level.
Cross-country skiing. For cross-country skiing, long, thin skis are used. This type of skiing uses a binding system that holds the ski boot to the ski by the boot's toe. This lets the heel move up and down naturally, enabling skiers to travel long distances and climb hills. It's a great cardiovascular workout and a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors. Virtually any flat or near-flat snowy surface works.
Snowboarding. Snowboarding is also popular. Kids especially love this type of snow "surfing," and many resorts offer the equipment for rental along with traditional skis. Snowboarding uses different techniques than downhill skiing, so your family should take a few lessons first. If you've been on a surfboard in water, you'll find the snowboarding style familiar.
Snowshoeing. Snowshoeing doesn't require any particular skills or specialized equipment, and it can be done almost anywhere there's snow. The snowshoeing technique is as easy as walking, so anyone can do it. If you like walking, hiking, or running, you'll find that strapping on a pair of snowshoes is a great way to work out. The slower pace of snowshoeing also allows family members to stay together. Traditional snowshoes can be strapped onto any pair of boots without heels and can be rented from an outdoor equipment retailer.
Ice skating. You may remember struggling with weak ankle support when ice skating as a child, but great improvements in skate design have improved the skating experience. Take your family out to the rink for an afternoon or evening of ice skating. Many rinks rent molded fiberglass skates that have more ankle support and warmth than figure skates.
No matter what you try this winter - be safe and enjoy!