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Follow these healthy eating tips during the holidays

Posted 11/29/2012   Updated 11/29/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs


11/29/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass.  -- The holiday season is a time to gather and celebrate the season with friends and family at festive gatherings. It's also a time when many people eat more and exercise less, resulting in weight gain if not managed effectively.

"The average person doesn't generally gain that much weight throughout the holidays," said Orlagh Pawlyk, Civilian Health Promotion Services coordinator. "However, people tend to maintain that weight after the holidays so that over the course of a few years, weight gain can be substantial."

There are many strategies to overcome unhealthy habits during the holiday season.

"The first is to eat before you go a party," said Pawlyk. "Having something in your stomach before going to a party will help prevent overeating. Also, by not arriving hungry, you will be able to avoid the temptation to eat high-calorie party treats."

For those worried that there may not be healthy options at a party, try bringing one.

"Volunteer to bring healthy treats to a party," said Pawlyk. "It will guarantee that you will have something healthy to choose from and not feel guilty about it later. Vegetable sticks with a light dip platter, baked whole wheat pita with hummus or fresh cut fruit sticks with yogurt dip are excellent healthier options."

Strategies such as using a smaller plate are also an effective way to eat less.

"Think sampling mentality instead of eat it all mindset," Pawlyk said. "If there are drinks, appetizers, entrees and desserts, choose to have smaller amounts of each so you can sample everything without the guilt of overindulging, or skip the entrees and enjoy the appetizers and desserts instead."

Similarly, be moderate with alcohol consumption.

"The standard for moderate alcohol consumption is one drink for women and two for men," said Pawlyk. "A drink counts as one 12 ounce beer, a four once glass of wine or one and a half ounce of liquor."

Finally, Pawlyk suggests focusing on the party and not the food.

"Once you have filled your plate, leave the food table to avoid the temptation of grabbing more food," she said. "Remember you are there to enjoy the company of friends and family, so don't spend the entire night chained to the food table. Keep your hands busy; bring along pictures from a recent vacation or pictures of family to share with other guests."

Civilian Health Promotion Services offers several classes to assist in healthier holiday habits.

· Healthy Eating with Fast Food Dec. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Education Center.

· Healthy Eating on a Budget and Super Market Shopping Dec. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.in Building 1305 Brown Conference Room.

· Healthy Holiday Tips Dec. 12 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Health and Wellness Center.

· Stress Management class Dec. 17 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Education Center will discuss strategies to overcome stress during the holidays.

Classes are free and open to Department of Defense civilians and active duty military members. To register for a class, call Pawlyk at 781-225-6377 or email Orlagh.Pawlyk.ctr@hanscom.af.mil.



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