Don’t forget about healthy eating over the holidays, heart experts warn

Keeping Kids Safe

They say the approach is simple and you don't have to sacrifice all of your favorite traditions

(WYTV) – The American Heart Association recently named November “Eat Smart Month.”

The national awareness campaign focuses on the idea that making small, simple and healthy changes today can create a difference for generations to come.

The approach is simple — eat smart, add color, move more, be well.

Tracy Behnke, executive director of the Tri-County Heart Association, said it’s important to emphasize healthy eating, especially around the holidays when overindulging can become a habit.

“What we’re asking people to do is just think a little differently about it and maybe do a couple swaps. Choose the holidays that you want to celebrate — we don’t have to celebrate every day from Thanksgiving until Christmas or even until New Year’s. So it’s really just trying to think differently, adding more color to our plates and encouraging our families and friends to do the same thing.”

She said it’s about balance — and it doesn’t have to be difficult.

“It’s just trying something new, portioning your meals and really just adding color to your plate.”

Parents — you can make eating healthy fun and creative for your kids.

“They’re making turkeys out of vegetables using carrots and celery as feathers of a turkey or something like that, even with fruit,” Behnke said. “It’s making it fun and look fun for kids so that they want to try it.”

Daily tips to make this holiday season healthy (from the American Heart Association):

  • Balance is the key: Splurge, but don’t overdo it.
  • Eat smart at special holiday events: Eat a healthy meal or snack before you go to avoid overeating unhealthy foods.
  • Keep the family active: Squeeze in active chores and time outside.
  • Sip smarter: Replace sugary drinks with water or unsweetened drinks.
  • Give yourself the gift of peace: Don’t be afraid to say “no” to some events as invitations pile up and make room in your schedule for downtime.
  • Keep portions in check: Put less on your plate and pass on that second helping.
  • BYOB (Be Your Own Barista): Opt for less sweet, homemade versions of coffee drinks, hot chocolate and other holiday beverages.
  • Keep up healthy habits: If you don’t completely give up the healthy things you’re already doing just because it’s the holiday season, you won’t feel like you have to start all over.
  • Bring something: Offer to contribute a lighter, healthier dish at holiday parties.
  • Mix it up: If alcohol is being served, alternate each glass with a glass of water.
  • Get your ZZZs: Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Treat yourself: Try bite-sized tastes or split portions of desserts and holiday treats.
  • Holiday hydration: Make water your go-to choice when you’re feeling thirsty.
  • Add color: Add seasonal fruits and vegetables to meals, snacks and party dishes.
  • Make beverages sparkle: Try seltzer, club soda or sparkling water if you want fizz without the calories.
  • Fit in fitness: Try to stay committed to your workouts, even when the holidays kick into high gear.
  • Gotta have the ‘nog?: Try a low-fat version or mix it with an equal amount of low-fat or nonfat milk.
  • Shake it off: Use herbs and spices — like rosemary and cloves — to flavor dishes instead of salt to lower your sodium intake.
  • Spice it up: Use spices — like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves or allspice — to flavor sweet dishes and drinks so you can add less sugar.
  • Focus on being present instead of buying presents: When holiday stress starts to get to you, slow down and focus on what you’re thankful for.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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