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Have a Healthy Holiday Season

Some tips to avoid overindulging during festive gatherings

TUESDAY, Dec. 21, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Reminders to avoid overindulging during meals and parties and to make time for exercise are among the holiday health tips offered by Duke University's Diet and Fitness Center.

The tips for a healthier holiday season include:

  • Don't try to diet during the holidays. Instead, set a more realistic goal of not gaining weight.
  • Pace yourself by monitoring how quickly you eat. Savor your food by choosing it carefully and eating it slowly.
  • If you're having alcohol, choose light beer and wine over mixed drinks. A holiday-sized mixed drink can have as many as 500 calories.
  • Offer to bring a low-calorie food dish to holiday parties. When you're at parties, stand away from the food tables so you're not tempted to constantly nibble.
  • Continue a regular exercise program over the holidays. Not only will exercise help burn off those extra calories, it will reduce the stress of social events and family gatherings.
  • Don't go to a party on an empty stomach. Before going to a party, snack on protein, such as chicken or cottage cheese. Protein satisfies your appetite and helps you eat less.
  • Keep tabs on your portion sizes. Instead of eating a large amount of food, try eating a large variety of foods.
  • Don't allow a hectic holiday schedule to force you to eat fast food. Prepare and freeze several quick, healthy meals.
  • If you're hosting a party, be sure to include low-calorie and fat-free salad dressings. Put out plenty of flavorful vegetable dishes and prepare reduced-fat versions of favorite family holiday foods.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about healthy nutrition.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, December 2004
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