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Plan ahead for a healthier holiday season

Patient First offiers 5 ways to enjoy guilt-free food and fun

BALTIMORE | 12/22/2015, 8 a.m.
Be of good cheer. You don’t have to stick to nonfat eggnog, carrot sticks, and sugar-free sugar plums as you ...

Be of good cheer. You don’t have to stick to nonfat eggnog, carrot sticks, and sugar-free sugar plums as you celebrate the holidays. Go ahead and indulge in a few favorites but use some restraint. You can cut back on calories without cutting back on the fun. Here are five ways to enjoy the holiday without depriving your family or yourself:

  1. Prepare for parties - Parties are a big part of the holidays. There is a lot of excitement and plenty of temptations on the table. Whether it’s a family gathering, a neighborhood party or a special event, talk with your family about ways to manage their eating. Explain what is and isn’t good for your children, and talk about portion control. Try having a healthy snack before leaving for the party so that you don’t arrive hungry. An empty stomach and a full holiday table are a sure recipe for overeating.
  2. Be a healthy role model - It’s hard to limit sweet treats for your children if they see you hanging around the dessert table. Lead by example, and eat in moderation so that your children will do the same.
  3. Make wise choices - Holiday parties usually feature a table filled with indulgent foods and desserts. The temptation can be overwhelming for anyone. Now is the time to give yourself a little freedom. Choose the one treat you like the most. Or, put a small taste of several items on one plate.
  4. Focus on fun, not food - Food has always been a large part of holiday celebrations and always will be. However, those parties don’t have to focus on cookies, cakes and candy. Make sure that your celebrations include activities that don’t involve food or sugary items. Enjoy party games or make holiday crafts. You can also teach the kids how to enjoy healthier holiday foods by letting them help you in the kitchen. If they help prepare healthier food, they will be more interested in eating healthier food.
  5. Don’t stress out - The holidays are filled with demands, and you have a lot to do. You are rushing to holiday parties. The in-laws are coming to town for the week. You have to clean the house, drop off the kids, decorate the tree, and cook the turkey. Are there enough hours in the day? No! Curb the craziness and reduce your stress by making a schedule for the whole family to follow so everyone can share the work and enjoy this special time of the year. Also, make sure to get enough sleep and, if needed, learn when to say “no.”

Patient First doctors are available to discuss ways to make this a happy and healthier holiday season. Contact David Clark at 443-577-2907 for interviews.