As the holidays approach, the one thing on most people’s mind is how much turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes they can eat before slipping into a food coma. What most of us don’t realize is that overstuffing is one of the unhealthiest actions a person can do to their body. However, there is a way to still enjoy all the incredible holiday food AND have your body enjoy it too.

Portion Size- most of us don’t even care WHAT we are eating during the holidays, but more HOW MUCH we are eating. Starting with one average sized plate instead of an overstuffed, food falling off kind of plate can help your body digest and settle appropriately, it’ll also help you avoid those afternoon, post-feasting naps.

Turkey- The signature food everyone thinks about during the holidays. The staple of Thanksgiving dinners everywhere is actually a very healthy lean meat. Go for the white meat, as it’s a great source of protein for any diet.

Vegetables- Veggies, Veggies, and more Veggies. Things like squash and green beans make any holiday meal more delicious, but also much healthier.

Go for Sweet- Most of us enjoy a great portion of mashed potatoes on each of our plates during the holidays, but did you know that Sweet Potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and fiber. Plus their orange color goes great with all things fall. Swap them out, and make the holidays that much more colorful.

Go to the Pumpkin Patch- Not only is this a fantastic family activity for the holidays, picking your own pumpkin is also the healthiest option for making all types of deserts, including Pumpkin Pie. A natural pumpkin is loaded with high dietary fiber, potassium, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Natural over canned always!

Substitution is your friend- Most of us have a picture of a family holiday meal in our heads and we can’t imagine anything else on the table that night. However, swapping out some of the potatoes for steamed vegetables or putting buttermilk in place of cream into the gravy can make a big difference in the healthiness of your annual holiday meal, while still keeping most of your favorite dishes untouched.

Check your food- Since most of us cook large amounts of food at a time for the holidays, it can be easy to leave it out unnoticed for a few hours. Certain types of food can go bad and give food poisoning if left out, so make sure to follow food safety during the holidays, your body will thank you!

Elizabeth Moody RDN/LD, Outreach Coordinator for the Cleveland County Nutrition and Fitness Coalition says “Thanksgiving is more than just a meal, it a special time to share with your family and friends. A great way to show your appreciation for your health is to add some activity to your day such as a family flag football game. Since Thanksgiving and football go hand in hand, what better way to get your entire family moving than a quick pick up game in the backyard?” Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day, five days a week, can help adults reduce their risks for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes – all of which affect Oklahomans at a higher rate than the national average.

Eating healthier and promoting exercise during the holidays is just a couple of the ways The Cleveland County Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is trying to improve community health. Locally the coalition actively helps school, afterschool programs, workplaces, and communities to promote physical activity and nutrition by passing local health policies.

To learn more about what is happening with physical activity and nutrition in Cleveland County, contact please contact Elizabeth Moody at (405) 307-1016 or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @TSET_CCNF

Elizabeth Moody RD,LD, can be reached at Norman Regional Health System,  226 W. Gray Street, Suite 203, Norman, or at 307-1016

Fax (405) 912-4585. E-mail is emoody@nrh-ok.com.

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