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I’m always trying to find ways to keep things healthy around the holidays and I bet I’m not the only one. So this holiday season, I thought, what better way to highlight our registered dietitian friends than with their own tips on how to have a happy, healthy holiday season. We asked registered dietitians “What is one recommendation you can make for a person to stay healthy during the holiday season?” and this is what they wrote:

“Check out the low fat eggnog in the dairy case.  This product tastes great with many less calories than the regular version. You can drink straight or incorporate into some holiday dishes.  Happy Noggin.” —Cheryl Fisher, MS RD, Harrison County Hospital

Start your day off with a balanced breakfast, whole wheat toast or English muffin with peanut butter and a container of yogurt is super quick. Carry a piece of fresh fruit with you for a mid- morning snack and you will be fortified until lunch time.” –Sharon Black, RD, Putnam County Hospital

Remember it is best consume foods in moderation.” –Lynn Brooking, RD, Clinical Dietitian, Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital

My one tip to stay healthy during the holiday season is to involve family and friends in activities to help keep everyone active but still spend quality time together. My family takes walks together or plays games, such as Dance Central on the Kinect, to stay active even on the days of holiday gatherings.” –Danielle Olney, MBA, RD, CSO, CD, Registered Dietitian, Community Hospital Anderson

At large meals like Thanksgiving go ahead and eat your favorite foods, but watch the amounts.  For example take just a spoonful of mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, casseroles and 1/2 portion on dessert. Eat more plain fruits and vegetables if they are offered and have a normal portion of turkey.” –Joann Gingerich

Throughout the holiday season there are often many social gatherings that offer a variety of food and sweet treats. Go into these situations with a plan of what you are going to eat. Avoid lingering around the food. Try to mingle or sit on the other side of the room so that the food is out of sight and less tempting.” –Lindsey Hughes, Registered Dietitian, Community Health Network

My recommendation is to remember to model My Plate when eating even during the holidays:  half of the plate is fruits and vegetables and half of the grains are whole.  Combine this with your regular workouts to relieve stress and burn extra calories that come along with the holidays.” –Jane Gooder M.Ed., R.D., Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

My message for the holiday is BALANCE,  Balance what you eat, Throw some exercise into the mix, Get  a flu shot, LAUGH A LOT and enjoy your Family.” –Rosalind Jones-Jackson, M.S., R.D.N., C.D., WIC Program Manager

Though the weather might be getting cooler, it’s important to continue to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Not only will this help decrease weight gain during the holiday season but it will also help relieve stress which can cause us to crave lots of holiday sweets. Daily exercise can be as easy as walking for 15 minutes twice a day.” –Hilary Elliott, Registered Dietitian – WIC Program Coordinator

I recommend that people peruse the food line up and do a “dry run” without a plate first to see what is available. Then, they can decide how to balance their plate with a protein, grain/starch, and half veggies and/or fruit, and plan for dessert. Nothing worse than not knowing what is at the end of the table, and there not being any room left on the plate.” –Samantha C. Schaefer, MS, RD, CD, Community Health, Indiana University Health Bloomington

Enjoy holiday hors d’oeuvres and meals while maintaining a balance, so you can eat the foods you look forward to without over-indulging! 1) Bring a dish with a healthy twist to share.  2) Don’t arrive on an empty stomach! 3) Sample a healthy variety of foods while you’re there – fruit or veggies w/dip, cheese and crackers, then your favorite dessert.” –Amanda Kruse RD, CD, Wellness Nutritionist, Ball State University Dining

My recommendations for staying healthy during the holiday season is to monitor portions, hydrate and walking after large meals.” –Cindi Lamb, Family Nutrition Advisor, Purdue Extension-Marion County

Make it a point to actually schedule at least a 30min-1hour exercise routine into your daily schedule to boost the metabolism and relieve stress.” –Tammy Bauchert, CFCS, Family & Consumer Sciences Dept. Chair, Mt. Vernon High School

One thing that my family does to stay healthy is to keep moving – especially on the “big meal” days. After Thanksgiving dinner we will bundle up and go out for a 30-40 minute brisk walk around the neighborhood. It gets our blood and metabolism going and it is fun to walk and talk.” –Elaine Robbins RDN, CD, Indiana First Steps Dietitian

Enjoy all the holiday trimmings and goodies, have fun! keep waist belt buckled!” –Germaine Lee


P.S…we had SO MANY wonderful tips so stay tuned for Healthy Holiday Tips (Part 2) tomorrow!