Making Healthy Choices for the Holidays

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The Holiday season is filled with family, revelling, worship and food, however, it’s also the time of year when we break almost all the rules. We overeat, drink excessively, and forget that our body requires adequate sleep.

With a few tips below, we will highlight how to make healthy choices this Holiday season, while still enjoying that glass of sorrel or slice of cake.

Hydration

During the festive season, many look forward to alcoholic beverages more than any other drink, and neglect the most important drink for hydration, which is water. According to science, 70% of the body is water, therefore, whether you are celebrating, revelling or just moving, ensure that you have an adequate supply of water daily.

It’s easier to drink water when it is readily available. This Holiday season, keep a bottle of water with you at all times.

Sugary drinks cause a sharp increase in blood sugar levels, so avoiding them is best to keep blood sugar levels low.  Freshly-made local drinks are a better and healthier option than carbonated drinks and sodas.

If you choose to drink alcohol, limit the amount you consume. After all, we do recognize that alcohol impairs judgement and we want to make it into 2017 safely.  A standard drink is one 12 oz. beer; 4 oz. of wine; 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.  The recommended limit for an adult male is two (2) standard drinks per day, and for an adult female, one (1) standard drink per day.

Keep It Moving for the Season

Between shopping, parties, shows and ‘last minute’ cleaning it can seem difficult to get in your daily exercise routine.  We tend to say, “after the Christmas and Carnival season I will start to exercise.” No need to wait for the New Year!  Choose to incorporate exercise into your seasonal activities; -continue walking on the Bypass road, going to your gym or even participating in some form of aerobics.  If you have not exercised for the year, it is not too late- start by parking and walking while doing your Holiday shopping.  Make it a part of your plan to get your heart rate ‘up’ this holiday season.

Eating for the Holidays

Ever heard the saying, “when things free tek two?” Just because something is free or available doesn’t mean you need it.  It is common to visit friends and family during the holidays, however, you do not have to accept every treat that is offered. Saying “no” this holiday season will save you a few extra pounds, lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as leave some extra dollars in your pocket.

Spend more time with family and friends this Holiday season by making home-cooked meals and inviting someone over.  Prepare your favourite dishes using less fats and sugars. Grilling, boiling, baking and steaming are some of the healthier options for meal preparation.

Include more fruits and vegetables to keep your plate equally balanced. Eat to be satisfied, not stuffed.

Plan ahead; when leaving for a party or an event, eat a light snack to curb your appetite; you will be less tempted to over indulge; and remember, don’t skip meals.

We at the Nutrition Surveillance Programme, Ministry of Health would like to wish you a Safe and Healthy Holiday Season.

By,

The Nutrition Surveillance Programme

Health Promotion Unit

Ministry of Health

LifeLines is a monthly column dedicated to addressing issues of mental, behavioural, and social health. The column appears monthly, and is written by professionals in the field of social work, mental health, and community medicine“.