From overeating to exercise and alcohol, UC San Diego Health System nutritionists, trauma specialists and poison experts offer insights for a health holiday.
Food for thought
The holidays make it so easy to overeat. Hanukkah celebrations kick off with Auntie’s latkes. Grandma’s sweet potatoes are a Christmas tradition. And then we wash it all down with one of Dad’s annual eggnog creations. Sound familiar? UC San Diego Health System nutrition experts say, “Savor the seasonal offerings — just do it sensibly.”
“Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring,” said Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., RD, professor of family and
preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. “Include seasonal veggies in your meals and
holiday dishes. Items such as squash, pumpkin and apples add flavor and interest to salads and
baked goods, and they’re good for you.”
Dr. Santiago Horgan, director for the Center for the Treatment of Obesity, points out that using time off from work during the holidays to exercise is a great way to get a head start on New Year resolutions. “Gyms are usually not crowded this time of year.”
– Plan ahead before you go to a party. Eat a sensible snack, such as an apple, to curb your hunger so that you are not overly hungry when faced with fattening food.
– Sip sparkling water — it’s filling and hydrating.
– Keep emotional eating in check. Are you really hungry, or did you grab that handful of cookies because shopping is stressful?
– Think about and control your portions by using a salad-sized plate for your entree and side dishes. Eat a salad on an entree-sized plate before the main meal.
– Recognize when you’re full. It takes a good 20 minutes before your stomach signals you brain that it’s full, so eat slowly; the second you start feeling satisfied, stop eating.
– Reduce the amount of fat in holiday meals. For example, use fat-free chicken broth or low-fat milk instead of butter when you prepare mashed potatoes. When sautéing celery and onions for the stuffing, use non-stick spray in the pan.