wrapping a giftHave a Healthy Holiday Season

7 Tips to Stay Well

’Tis the season for parties, family — and lots of food. It’s also the season for colds, flus and overdoing it. Luckily, Buck August, an Enloe registered dietitian, offers simple ways to help you enjoy your upcoming festivities while putting your health first.

Tip 1. Wash up After the Pleasantries  
Warm handshakes, kisses, and hugs can quickly turn ugly, spreading cold and flu bugs. Wash your hands frequently at your gatherings and keep antibacterial wipes, or hand sanitizer in your purse or car. A flu shot helps prevent illness as well.

Tip 2. Outsmart the Buffet 
When it comes to enjoying tasty treats at those jolly get-togethers, choose foods you love and ease back on items that are available year-round. Use a small plate, too. Studies show using smaller dishes helps you eat less — and so does eating slowly. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to let you know you’re full.


 Share something you’re grateful for before your meals. This shifts the focus from the food around you to your loved ones."

If you’re worried about having a second or third helping of goodies, use the mantra “Out of sight, out of mind.” Park yourself away from the buffet. The more you see food, the more you want it. The same goes for candy and cookie trays at work and home.

Tip 3. Be Grateful
Let the spirit of the season help you through temptations by sharing something you’re grateful for before your meals. This shifts the focus from the food around you to your loved ones. And it might help Aunt Martha ease off when she offers you a second helping of pie. If she still does it, it’s OK to set boundaries by saying, “Thanks, that looks delicious, but I’m stuffed.”

Tip 4. Keep Moving
Make exercise even more of a priority during this time of year. A few minutes of physical activity can restore your mind. If you can’t fit in a full 30-minute workout, make small changes to get your steps in. Take the stairs, park father away from stores or walk extra laps at the mall. You can also pull out your jump rope or resistance band for a quick, inexpensive cardio routine. There are plenty of exercise videos on YouTube.


 During this busy time of year, sleep is more important than ever. People who slept at least 8 hours nightly were about three times less likely to catch a cold."

Tip 5. Take it Outside
August is a fan of getting outdoors during family gatherings and encourages us all to do the same. Take a hike or walk, set up a game of football or corn hole, or participate in an annual holiday run/walk. Try building in an activity that can become a family tradition.

Tip 6. Rest up
During this busy time of year, sleep is more important than ever. People who slept at least 8 hours nightly were about three times less likely to catch a cold than those who slept for less than 7, according to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Plus, when you’re sleep deprived, you tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar foods. If you’re feeling worn down or sick, skip the festivities — your friends and family will thank you.

Tip 7. Don’t Forget ‘me’ Time
Shopping, wrapping and cooking can take a toll on your emotional well-being. Take time each day to relax and clear your mind. It’s surprising what a quiet moment can do to help you recharge. Play your favorite music or meditation app, take an evening walk, veg on the couch with a good book, or watch that favorite holiday movie.

Don’t forget that the season is a time to celebrate and connect with those you care about. Happy holidays!

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