Healthy holiday foods and fun ideas


By Leitha Lee - Contributing columnist



Leitha Lee


Mashed potatoes and gravy, Grandma’s apple pie, and other holiday favorites can be a joyous part of any celebration. But to feel your best, you know you need to eat in moderation and stay active. How can you avoid temptation when delicious foods and calories abound?

From Halloween through New Year’s, there’s always a decision to make about food. Tasty treats tend to appear more often at work and festive gatherings, and come as gifts. They may also tempt you when grocery shopping. As the holidays approach, it’s important to think ahead and make a plan. Consider your health goals for the holiday season, whether it’s avoiding overeating, staying active, connecting with others, reducing stress, or preventing weight gain. You can plan to make time for buying healthy groceries, cooking at home, scheduling regular physical activity, and setting aside a little quiet time for yourself.

Some people can eat less healthy foods in moderation and be fine, or have cheat days where they allow themselves to eat whatever they want for a day and stay on track for the rest of the week. Others may have to avoid certain trigger foods completely, or they’ll spiral into unhealthy eating patterns for the rest of the week or abandon their plan altogether. Of course, everyone is different.

While food is a big part of the holidays, remember that there are other paths to staying healthy. Don’t make the holiday be just about food. The key is not only what you eat, but how much you’re moving. Even small amounts of exercise can be very helpful for everyone over the holidays. What if you fall to temptation? Every day is a new day when it comes to eating. Even if you don’t have an issue with food, be aware of other people around you, and respect their choices.

Look for opportunities to make healthy choices and feel good about them, Small choices really can make a big change. Each moment that you put something in your mouth or choose to exercise adds up over time. That can be true for weight loss or weight gain. Remember to enjoy a healthy breakfast to prevent overeating later on. Eat what’s best for you first. Fill at least half your plate with fresh fruits and veggies. You’ll have less room for the rest. Bring a healthy dish to a party, Fruit by itself makes an excellent desert. Try placing a bowl of clementine’s or apples on the holiday table, avoid beverages that are high in calories and sugar, keep a food journal to help track what you are eating, instead of focusing o n food, spend time with family, friends andactivities, Stay positive. If you eat more on some days, eat less on others. If you miss a workout, exercise a little longer the next day.

For more information on Healthy Holiday Foods and Fun contact Lethia Lee at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Office 910-592-7161 or e-mail her at Lethia_lee@ncsu.edu.

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education program through Cooperative Extension.

Leitha Lee
http://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/web1_Lethia-Lee-New-2.jpgLeitha Lee

By Leitha Lee

Contributing columnist

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education program through Cooperative Extension.

Lethia Lee is the EFNEP program assistant for the Expanded Food Nutrition Education program through Cooperative Extension.

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