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DC Department of Health Encourages Smart Eating Habits During Thanksgiving

Monday, November 22, 2010
DOH offers residents ten healthy eating and living tips to help promote wellness.

As District residents prepare to enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the Department of Health (DOH) is reminding Washingtonians that the holiday season does not have to be a time of weight gain and unhealthy outcomes.  With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, many diets, meal plans, and exercise routines will be challenged as most residents flock to dinner tables covered by foods sure to pack on the pounds. To help, DOH has put together 10 things residents can do this holiday season to ensure they still enjoy Thanksgiving meals while also being health conscious.   

“This Thanksgiving make sure your celebration time with family involves being active before you get to the dinner table. Take a walk sometime that day, participate in that annual Turkey Bowl football match, or play Wii Fit with the family. Eating in moderation is a good eating habit that can help continue the celebrations and good food by ensuring, there will be leftovers for the day after (just make sure you heat them properly!)”  

10 Healthy Eating and Living Tips for the Holidays

  • Eat Breakfast: making sure to consume a healthy breakfast at the start of the day can help stave off hunger and reduce the risk of overeating.
  • Moderation Instead of Deprivation: delicious desserts, sides and other holiday foods can be consumed in moderation using portion control, which can help reduce the urge to binge on other foods. 
  • Consume Lots of Veggies: make sure holiday dinner plates are covered by more vegetables than starches and meats that are high in fat.
  • Maintain Your Exercise Plan: remain balanced - even on the go and visiting family, still try to incorporate a long walk with friends and family, or a brisk jog while away for the holidays.
  • Keep a Food Diary: keep track of the foods eaten over the holidays by writing them down, this will provide a good sense of how many calories have been consumed and how many will need to be burned off with exercise.
  • Eat Before Holiday Parties: people tend to overeat when food is available in social settings. Try to eat a healthy meal or snack just before attending a holiday party, as it will help curb appetite and reduce the chance of overeating.
  • Pack Healthy Snacks: just before embarking on holiday trips, try to pack healthy snacks such as fruits, veggies, and nuts instead of relying on the fast food options at rest stops and airports.
  • Drink Plenty of Water: it is important to stay hydrated at all times, especially when traveling and exercising.
  • Get Enough Rest: maintain regular sleep hours. Reducing the amount of time to sleep can result in fatigue, stress, weakened immune system and even exhaustion.
  • Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself: Making yourself feel bad will only hinder, not help you in your quest to live well. So have a positive attitude and continue to maintain your health and wellness goals this Thanksgiving.

When faced with trying to lose weight and stay healthy, DOH reminds residents that there is never a quick fix, but rather a lifestyle change that needs to be made to ensure lasting health benefits. So whether dining out, or eating at home this holiday season, remember the best way to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle is by correcting poor eating habits, incorporating more physical activity, and by taking full control of your health and wellness plan.