The Signal Tribune newspaper

Twelve healthy days of Christmas

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Carol Berg Sloan RDN

In honor of this festive season, here are 12 tips to get you through the holidays, happy and healthy.

Don’t skip meals. I used to do this in my younger days— not eat all day when I knew I was going out for a big dinner. It backfires by slowing down your metabolism and then usually leads to overeating or drinking anyway.

Do enjoy in moderation. If I am going to a party, and a favorite dish is served, I am going to enjoy it! I’ll have a couple of crackers with spinach dip and then skip the fudge, because I really want the savory and won’t miss the sweet.

Drink water. Especially if consuming alcoholic beverages. Rule of thumb: for every drink, have eight ounces of water to stay hydrated.

Do some form of exercise each day. Start by stretching and end with a quick walk around the block.

Buy your groceries from some type of meal plan and/or list. Grocery store end caps (these are at the end of each aisle) entice you to buy with low prices but usually are low-nutrition items. Stick to your list, and get out of the store cheaper and healthier.

Have a three course meal and start with soup. Research shows consuming a broth-based soup before the main entrée leads to eating less of the main dish. Have a lighter dessert such as meringues or dried fruit and nuts.

Purchase high-quality “treats.” Go ahead and buy that one Godiva truffle instead of the 3-ounce milk-chocolate bar; it’s worth it. Same for cheese. Why eat a couple of ounces of flavorless, mild cheddar cheese when you can have a delicious ounce of aged gouda or Vermont extra-sharp white cheddar?

Try to get enough sleep. Partying till midnight then being up at 6am will catch up to you and make you a grumpy human being.

Give edible gifts that will be appreciated. Bake high-fiber banana nut bread by substituting oat bran or ground flaxseeds for some of the flour. Use half the butter or oil by substituting with applesauce. Make your own granola and add nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Place in a jelly jar with a festive wrapping. People can use these items much more than a knick-knack.

If going to a party, bring a healthy dish. Everyone will love a side dish of roasted vegetables, crudité with homemade hummus or toasted, spiced mixed nuts.

Eat three to five servings of fruits or vegetables every day. Enjoy: spaghetti squash instead of pasta; extra toppings such as radishes, onions, green beans on your salad; or mixed berries on your ice cream. Fabulous!

Enjoy these times. Don’t get stressed about details, thorough cleaning or the perfect present. Sometimes your presence (in a jolly mood) is present enough.

Carol Berg Sloan RDN is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and independent consultant with expertise in food and nutrition communications.

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Serving Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, Wrigley and Signal Hill
Twelve healthy days of Christmas