01 NOV 2022

Eat, Drink, Be Merry and Healthy This Season

Family members passing a dish of green beans around the table.
Staying active can help make up for eating more than usual and can lower stress, according to the CDC.

Here come the holidays – the season for family get-togethers, lots of festivity and, yes, plenty of delicious food. There’s so much temptation this time of year — what with parties and family get-togethers — that healthy diets, meals and sleep routines go right out the window.

How do you stay on a healthy track? If you plan for it, no food needs to be on the “naughty” list, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You can still savor your favorite aunt’s cookies or grandmother’s pumpkin pie, but just make sure it’s a small serving.

Your holiday health plan should also include a little exercise, even if it means taking a walk after a meal. Staying active can help make up for eating more than usual and can lower stress, according to the CDC.

The CDC also recommends making sure you get enough sleep. Aim for seven to eight hours per night, because if you’re sleep deprived, you’ll tend to eat more.

If you’re the one who is cooking, there is a lot you can do to trim out calories without trimming out flavor, according to Laura O’Mary, registered dietitian with NorthBay Health.

“Use herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt,” she notes. “Some good ones to try that lend well to holiday meals are ginger, rosemary, thyme and cinnamon.”

Laura also recommends avoiding condiments and other packaged products, such as gravies and stuffing mixes, as they typically have a high sodium content. “You can cut down on sodium if you try making your own.”

She also recommends that cooks use fresh veggies in holiday side dishes instead of canned, and to use chicken broth or cooking spray to prevent food from sticking to the pan.

And, if you’re baking, “use applesauce or plain yogurt in place of oil.”

If you'd like more guidance on incorporating nutritious recipes and other healthy choices into your life, you can schedule an appointment with NorthBay Health dietitian, Laura O’Mary at (707) 624-7900.

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