Monday, December 10, 2012

Follow these tips for healthy holiday eating

Eating healthy and staying fit are not usually on the priority list during the holidays. But health experts say it is important to try to keep yourself on track during the season.

"People need to keep their current health routines going," said Becky Porter, a dietitian with the Tulsa City-County Health Department. "I know it's tempting to let the crazy, hectic holiday schedule take over, but people really need to work to make sure they're getting enough sleep and to maintain their exercise habits."

Don Wilber, a physician with the Oklahoma-based health maintenance organization GlobalHealth, said, "The CDC recently reported that the diabetes rate in Oklahoma has tripled over the last 15 years, which is largely a result of the increasing rate of obesity in our state. As such, it's important that we encourage Oklahomans to eat right and stay active by following a few simple steps, especially with the holidays in full swing."

Here are a few tips Porter and GlobalHealth recommend to help:

Plan ahead

Porter said planning ahead, whether you're eating out or heading to a party, can help you make better decisions.

Check menu nutrition information online before you head to a restaurant. If you're going to an evening party, save calories and prevent hunger by eating light, high-fiber meals during the day.

Pack healthy snacks

If you're going to be traveling a lot during the holidays, GlobalHealth suggests packing healthy snacks to help you avoid fast food.

Some options include fruit, granola bars and packets of almonds.

Limit the drinks

Porter advises keeping the alcohol to a minimum - approximately one drink for a woman and one to two for a man.

"It can weaken your resolve," she said.

Also, try to avoid drinking your calories.

Avoid soda, eggnog and other high-calorie drinks to make more room for food.

Break up exercise routine

If you have trouble keeping up your regular exercise routine because of a busy schedule, break it up into smaller pieces, suggests the GlobalHealth tipsheet.

Fit in a few 10-minute bursts of cardio when you have some time during the day.

Avoid the buffet table

To keep yourself from having seconds, fill your plate up once, then move away from the buffet table.

As Porter says, "Make the evening more about socializing."