FAMILY

Stroller Strides of the Quad Cities Says Plan Ahead to Celebrate with Healthy Choices

Staff reports

The holiday season is here, with its parties and get-togethers and food-centered  festivities. While it's tempting to put fitness and healthy eating on the  back burner for the duration of the season, Sara Baker, owner of Stroller Strides of the Quad Cities, says it's easy to maintain your healthy lifestyle with a little planning.

"Fitness is a commitment you make to yourself," said Baker. "The rewards  of sticking to a healthy diet and exercise plan come in the way you feel and the energy you have to enjoy this hectic and wonderful time of year with your family and friends. With a little advance planning, you can enjoy holiday meals and get-togethers while honoring your promise to make your own good health a priority."

Here are some suggestions to help make sure that you'll start the New Year feeling fit and strong:

* Plan Ahead: Decide ahead of time what kinds of foods you'll enjoy at a  holiday party and which foods you'll avoid. You don't need to announce your healthy eating plan. Simply enjoy the foods you select, and your host or hostess will know you are having a good time.

* Fill 'er Up ˆ with Veggies: At a buffet or a formal dinner, help  

yourself to veggies and lower-fat fare, and skimp on less healthy choices.  

Your full plate of food will signal other guests that you're enjoying the  

meal. Then, focus on the flavor of the healthy foods you've selected and you will enjoy it.

* Cook light: If you're the hostess, try some new, lighter recipes to  

serve your guests. Then, let your guests enjoy your meal before you share  your healthy secret!  But, be careful not to nibble your way through the  preparations. Those little "tastes" can add up to big calories.

* Stay Sober ˆ Be Slimmer: You know you shouldn't drink and drive, but  drinking and eating can be hazardous to your health, too. Drinking alcohol  can lead to poor food choices and it also slows down your metabolism.  

Drink moderately, if at all.

* Snack Wisely: Take the edge off your appetite by enjoying a healthy  snack before you leave for the party. You won't be as tempted to tackle the first plate of appetizers or bowl of salty snacks.

* Exercise: Make time for exercise! Taking a walk before or after a  

holiday meal pays off with a double health bonus: it kick-starts your  

metabolism and helps keep your appetite under control.

If, in spite of your good intentions and planning, you find yourself  

over-indulging, forgive yourself and move on, adds Baker. "A single piece  of chocolate cake isn't going to sabotage your healthy living plan," Baker said, "unless you use it as an excuse to sample the rest of the desserts.  

Enjoy the cake, and then get back on track."

Stroller Strides of the Quad Cities caters to moms by offering fitness  

classes that combine enrichment for children with a workout for mom.  All that moms need to participate is an hour of time, their baby and their stroller.

For more information on Stroller Strides of the Quad Cities, please  

contact Sara Baker at 708.261.7721 or sarabaker@strollerstrides.net.

About Stroller Strides

Ranked among Entrepreneur Magazine's Fastest Growing Franchises in 2010, Stroller Strides offers classes in more than 1,200 locations in the United States and Canada. The hour-long classes emphasize cardiovascular activities and muscle-strengthening exercises using resistance bands and strollers, allowing moms to interact with their babies throughout their workout. To further assist mothers in all aspects of their lives, Stroller Strides partners with Reebok®, LUNA® and BOB®. For more information about Stroller Strides, including class locations, visit www.strollerstrides.com.