>A good business trip takes careful planning. So does maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy weight. If you travel frequently in your line of work, or for your business, you know how difficult it can be to keep up good habits and how easy it is to slip into bad ones. The good news is that, with a little added preparation and smart choices, you can considerably reduce that risk. Here’s how:
Set realistic goals – Goals will help you stay focused while you are away, but be realistic. For example, instead of losing weight, why not set maintaining your current weight as your goal?
Be prepared – It’s easier to maintain your health and weight with a little preparation. For example, call ahead to the hotel where you are staying and see if they have a fitness centre. Or, for frequent stays, consider a pass to a local facility. And be sure to take along your workout gear.
Scan the menu – Taking time to review your choices will help you make healthy ones.
Consider avoiding foods with descriptions such as ‘fried,’ ‘crispy,’ or ‘battered.’ They are likely high in fat. Instead, look for high-fiber meals, like a baked potato or salad.
For baked potatoes and salads, avoid high-calorie dressings and sour cream, or extras such as meat, cheese, egg and croutons. Or, ask to have dressings and toppings on the side so you can control your portions.
Ordering a small or kid-size portion. This is a great way to reduce the amount of calories, sodium and fat you consume.
Eat on schedule – Skipping meals or not eating for long periods increases your hunger and the risk that you will overeat when you finally make time for food.
Curb the urge to splurge – Keep snacks like graham crackers and fruit on hand in your car, bag or briefcase. This will help keep your appetite in check when standing at the buffet table or ordering a meal.
Forego fast food where possible – If fast-food restaurants are your only option, remember that many now have health-smart choices. Be sure to ask for the nutritional information and check the calorie, fat and fiber counts before ordering. Often, these choices aren’t healthier than what is on the main menu. Avoid the value meals; the calorie content is generally equal to two meals.
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It’s the holiday season. Time for buying gifts, throwing parties and decorating your home. All that work can leave little time for enjoying what should be the most wonderful time of the year. So here are some quick tips to help make your holiday season merry and bright.
Make a list of all the people you plan to shop for with gift ideas that match their tastes. Consider gift certificates,
which are easy to wrap and create less clutter. Be sure to set a gift budget for everyone on your list. Check weekly flyers for sales to plan your trip to the mall. The best times to shop are weekday mornings when there are fewer people shopping. Some stores have personal shoppers who can assist you in finding the right gift. And many stores have websites that allow you to save time by shopping from home online. Finally, set yourself a deadline to complete your gift buying so you have more time to enjoy the
Throwing a party
Planning a successful holiday party is much like planning any party. Start by selecting a date, preferably one
that doesn’t conflict with other holiday gatherings. Once done, determine where you want to host your party – at home, the office or at a favourite spot – and make reservations if necessary. Now you’re ready to draw up your guest list. For a formal party,
prepare and mail out invitations. For an informal gathering, email or phone invitations will do. If you decide to hold your party at home, develop a festive menu to serve your guests. If you choose a restaurant or club, ask them to suggest a menu based on
the number of guests invited and their tastes. Some seasonal music and a few carefully chosen decorations, table settings and centrepieces will help create a festive atmosphere.
Decorating your home
Before you drag out boxes of lights and tinsel, visualize how you want your home to look and make a plan. A good plan covers everything from your theme (such as ‘An Old-fashioned Christmas’) and colour scheme to the decorations you want to use and where you’ll place them. Now you can pull out the décor you want to use. Sift through it and donate or purge any outdated or unwanted items. Be sure to test your decorations to make sure they work properly. Replace all burnt-out bulbs and frayed cords. If you need to buy new outdoor lights, consider strings with built-in timers. They’ll save you time and energy costs. Here’s another idea that will save you time: Make a party of it. Invite family and friends to help you decorate, with the promise of eggnog and other holiday treats. You could even purchase some craft supplies and have your friends over to create some memorable tree
decorations. (And a few holiday season memories!)
>Hosting a dinner party takes preparation and organization. With everyone’s busy schedules, families and friends don’t often get the chance to sit down and enjoy a special meal together. Here are some suggestions to help make your next gathering easy and memorable.
1) Start by making pre and post checklists of the supplies you will need. As you plan your party, follow your timetable, go over lists and check off each task as it is completed. Make certain to include critical info like date, time, place and reason for the occasion. Ask guests to RSVP by a certain date so you can appropriately prepare.
2) Figure out how big or small a get-together you would like to have so you can plan your budget. Consider how many you can comfortably seat at your table or how you can extend an existing table to accommodate more. Other tables in your home or even an inexpensive fold out rental table can work well when clothed and set. Placing name cards at the dinner table is a nice way to encourage conversation and for people to get to know each other.
3) Consider your china, dishes, flatware and cooking pots you will use. Use your special occasion pieces – this is a party after all. Also consider how well you can work in the size of your kitchen. If you have never done this before start small with some simple dishes and make additions after you have some experience.
4) If you plan on having a party on a specific holiday, be prepared for a fewer number of RSVP’s. People will be less likely to have other plans if the party is scheduled on a date before or after the holiday.
5) Time your invitation for people to come ½ an hour to an hour before you plan to serve dinner. If possible let them know – cocktails at 7:00, dinner at 8:00. The more formal the occasion, the more lead time required. Everything works for invitations – from a phone call, e-mail or handwritten invitation.
6) Ask friends and family members for help as well. Assign tasks or food items for guests to bring to help ease your load. If you are going to serve wine choose after the menu is in place and enlist some help from local wine retailers. Not only can they find a pairing for food but they can also provide amounts required based on your numbers and the size of the wine bottle.
7) An organized house is more attractive and welcoming to your guests. Take the time to tidy up and put your belongings in their proper place. You will feel more comfortable knowing that your guests are seeing your home at its best.
Plan ahead so you have as little to do on the actual day of your party as possible. Take time for yourself before guests begin arriving. Being a relaxed and stress free party host is the best thing to serve your guests