Eat smart for a healthier and happier holiday

Tips to keep you eating and moving in sync with healthier choices through the holiday season

The holiday frenzy of gift giving, party going and feasting has begun. Many holiday events can involve food and drinks that are particularly high in calories, so here are some tips to help make healthier choices and eat better during the holiday season. To keep us moving in sync with healthier choices the American Heart Association and Michigan State University Extension offer the following ideas.

Know your numbers. In order to maintain a healthy weight, we need to balance the amount of food we eat with the amount of energy we burn. We don’t all need the same amount. Remember the factors of age, gender and physical activity levels affect how many calories we should consume each day. So keep these factors in mind when making decisions about what you eat, what you drink and how active you are over the holidays.

Limit your sodium. Did you know that many of your favorite holiday dishes may be packed with sodium? Bread and rolls, poultry, and canned soups are three common foods that can sneak added sodium into your diet. When shopping for ingredients to prepare your holiday meals, compare the labels to find lower sodium varieties. Use herbs and spices like rosemary and cloves to flavor dishes instead of salt or butter. Go fresh with Michigan Fresh for fruits and vegetable ideas. If using canned products, rinse with water in a colander before cooking and serving.

Engage in physical activity. No matter how young or old, our bodies need to move. Whether we are limited or have full range of movement, consider what activity you can do each day. Remember that the goal is 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Stretching and moving to music are great choices for anyone to do. For the more physically able, try walking, jogging or engaging in winter sports. Your mind and body will be grateful for the activity and movement.

Enjoy the holiday with family and friends and feel proud that you are choosing healthy choices as we get ready to start a new year.

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