Thursday, November 29, 2012

Health Care and Holiday Foods

It’s time once again to break out the stretchy pants. The holidays are upon you, and you’re thinking “Let the feasting begin!” Have you noticed that as the years go by, your waist line is an indicator of your appetite? Have you been feeding at the trough so many years during November and December that you don’t even notice that your clothes are getting tighter as the season progresses? What about all those calories that get consumed once the parties, buffets, and gift baskets start flowing? Are you guilty of surfing the wave of the holidays’ food tsunami?

For many, the holidays are the most wonderful — and least heart-healthy — time of the year. Grandma’s fudge is a sentimental favorite, and the neighbor’s cake balls are a decadent habit. Indulging a little won’t hurt — but planning ahead will make for merry meals that are healthy too. Do you decorate for the holidays with a lot of color? Treat your dinner plate the same way, according to the American Heart Association.

“Half of a meal should comprise fruits and vegetables that consist of a variety of colors,” said Vilma Andari, president and founder of Nutra Health Food and a spokeswoman for the American Heart Association. “The other two quarters should be whole grains and healthy proteins.” Make your holiday meals festive and healthy with a variety of richly colored fruits and vegetables — and don’t forget the herbs and spices. “Try to work fruits and veggies into everything from soups and stews to casseroles instead of just side dishes,” Andari said. See more details at this website: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Seasonal-Heart-Healthy-Holiday-Foods_UCM_433897_Article.jsp .

‘Tis the Season to be jolly—you pack on pounds that you promise to take off next year. According to Health.com, if you simply cannot resist a calorie-laden holiday treat, at least consume it in moderation. Here are 50 holiday diet hazards you and your family should avoid, along with healthy options that only taste indulgent, found at this website: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20440821,00.html .

Your tactic for avoiding temptation may be to steer clear of all the special treats and divert yourself with only healthy foods, according to EatingWell.com. Great in theory, but not so perfect in practice. Lots of foods that are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals are also full of calories. And when you're mindlessly munching as you're mingling, those calories can add up fast.

Don't assume that just because something is healthy it is also low-cal. If you like the healthy treats that sometimes show up at holiday parties, that's great! Have them—in moderation. If you'd rather sample some of the special seasonal treats, just put two or three of the most delicious-looking hors d'oeuvres on your plate and enjoy. Before you head out to party, check out these surprisingly unhealthy holiday calorie bombs and better bets to choose instead. More information can be found at http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/healthy_holiday_food_to_avoid_and_healthier_foods_to_eat_instead .

According to Men’s Health magazine online, the average person consumes an extra 600 calories a day between Thanksgiving and New Year's, which translates to an extra six pounds of belly fat heading into January. Whether your weakness is mayo-spiked deviled eggs or rum-spiked eggnog, there are more than enough temptations to go around in these merry times. And while everybody is entitled to a bit of indulgence during the holidays, there's a fine line between festive and fattening. To help you better understand that line, Men’s Health has pinpointed the very worst of the season's eatings and suggested some satisfying alternatives that should make your New Year's resolution a little easier to attain. You can find more information at their website: http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/best-and-worst-holiday-foods .

Feeling like you want to skim some fat off your own thighs instead of the turkey's? Surprise! There are actually a lot of holiday foods that, if you prepare them in a healthful way and watch your portions, reap countless nutritional benefits and can even help you lose weight, according to FitnessMagazine.com. Find out what works best for you. There are healthy tips for preparing and eating good food located at http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/healthy-holiday-superfoods/ .

However, if you are looking for really good holiday food treats that you just can’t resist, the Food Network has some great options at their site: http://www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/index.html .

So, if you’re waiting for that jolly old elf to show up at your fireside hearth, at least try not to consume all the cookies on the plate your kids left for Santa. If you get tempted, remember to go fat free. At least that way you’ll be able to justify your sweet tooth. And speaking of your teeth, make sure you brush before you toddle off to bed over the next few weeks. You may be going into a food coma if you over indulge, but at least your oral hygiene is better off after you take care of your smile.

Until next time.


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