The holiday season is here. It can be a stressful time of year and most of us tend to overeat less healthy foods.
It’s OK to enjoy your favorite treats during these special times, but if you overdo it, you could end up feeling groggy and without enough energy to do all the fun things you want to. By eating healthy on most days, you will feel good and have more energy to enjoy all the season has to offer.
Here are some tips to eating healthier during the holiday season:
▪ Don’t skip breakfast. Skipping the most important meal of the day can make you feel overly hungry later in the day, which can lead to overeating.
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▪ Do some physical activity most days of the week. Keeping active will help keep your appetite in check and burn some calories.
▪ Bring a healthy dish to the holiday party. That way you know there will be something you can eat that won’t make you feel sluggish later.
▪ Don’t linger by the food table at parties. Ever hear the phrase “out of sight, out of mind?”
▪ Enjoy smaller portions of your favorite treats. You don’t have to restrict yourself from eating the things you love during the holidays. A few bites of your favorite treat will be much more enjoyable than eating it until you feel like a stuffed turkey.
Unfortunately, holiday parties and meals also can be a source of foodborne illness. Keep your family and friends safe by using safe cooking practices, including:
▪ Clean. Always wash your hands before cooking or serving food; wash produce and fruits under running water before using them; never put cooked food on a plate that previously held raw food.
▪ Separate. Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and fish away from foods that will not be cooked; wash hands, utensils and cutting boards that had raw meat, poultry, eggs or fish on them with warm water and soap.
▪ Cook. Use a food thermometer to check doneness, especially for meat, poultry, eggs or fish: 145 degrees for steak, pork, veal, chops; 160 degrees for hamburger; and 165 degrees for poultry, combined or stuffed meats, and leftovers.
▪ Chill. Put leftovers away in the refrigerator within two hours; use ice to keep foods cold for buffets and parties; refrigerating food on their serving tray helps them stay cool longer.
When feeding a crowd, only put out some of the perishable food, resupplying as needed and keeping the rest either hot or cold. This keeps bacteria, which can cause illness, from growing in the food.
I hope you can use these tips to have a most pleasant and healthy holiday season.
Dr. Rachel C. Wood is the health officer for Thurston and Lewis counties. Reach her at 360-867-2501, firstname.lastname@example.org, co.thurston.wa.us/health, @ThurstonHealth on Twitter, or facebook.com/ThurstonHealth.