During this holiday season, as things return to normal following the pandemic, it can seem like one party after another from Thanksgiving through Epiphany, and while we hope you enjoy yourself, it can be easy to overindulge. The following tips will help keep you and your family on track when it comes to eating healthy even as the festive treats of the season are calling out your name including all the rich hot chocolate topped with mounds of whipped cream served in jolly Christmas-themed mugs.
Tip #1 Moderation is the key. The ancient Greeks knew it, ‘Παν μέτρον άριστον’ (Pan metron ariston, in English: moderation in all things). It can also refer to portion control and a balanced diet. The right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats can help you stay on course with a healthy eating plan.
USDA Dietary Guidelines stipulate that women need 46 grams of protein and men need 56 grams though protein needs also depend on age, activity level, and whether you are pregnant or have any chronic diseases. For example, a standard 3-oz. chicken breast has about 26 grams of protein in it, while a cup of Greek yogurt has 18 grams.
Alcoholic beverages can also add unnecessary calories to your diet, so try alternating with non-alcoholic beverages or skip the alcohol and be the designated driver for your group.
Tip #2 Stay hydrated. As the colder temperatures set in, drinking plenty of water can help with many aspects of health, including your skin, digestion, and fighting off common cold germs. In winter, it might not seem as obvious that you are thirsty, but keep drinking those eight glasses of water, since many other holiday beverages, including alcohol and sugary, caffeine-filled drinks can draw out moisture from the system.
Tip #3 Don’t starve yourself before going to a party. With everyone so busy this time of year, it can be difficult to even find time to eat before you have to attend a party. Many even put off eating until the party and then find themselves unable to resist the buffet’s many choices. A snack before you go to the party can stave off hunger and keep you thinking rationally as you approach the buffet or dinner table.
Tip #4 Wash your hands. This is a lesson that hopefully everyone learned during the pandemic. It seems simple enough, but washing your hands with soap and water can help you and your loved ones avoid getting sick with colds and the flu. If someone is “sick in the household it can spread rapidly to the rest,” according to the Mayo Clinic website, which adds, “hand-washing offers great rewards in terms of preventing illness. Adopting this habit can play a major role in protecting your health.”
Wash your hands before: Preparing food or eating, treating wounds or caring for a sick person, inserting or removing contact lenses.
Wash your hands after: Preparing food, using the toilet or changing a diaper, touching an animal, animal feed, or waste, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, treating wounds or caring for a sick person, handling garbage,
Also, wash your hands when they are visibly dirty.
Tip #5 Skip the Antibacterial Soap
According to the Mayo Clinic, “antibacterial soaps, such as those containing triclosan, are no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antibacterial soap might even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product’s antimicrobial agents, making it harder to kill these germs in the future.”
Stay safe and enjoy the holiday season!