Healthy for the holidays

Local dieticians offer advice for season’s eatings

— The holiday season is a time when many celebrate with family and at the office, often with a lot of food.

With a little planning, people can enjoy their holiday meals while keeping nutrition and wellness goals a top priority.

The registered dietitians at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic say the key is providing a person’s body with sustained energy.

“Fit in exercise most days, aiming for 30 minutes. If you can’t do it all at once, break it into three 10-minute segments throughout the day,” Yakima Medical Clinic Registered Dietitian Mayra Nuñez said.

“Keeping active will help burn extra calories that a person ingests throughout the day,” she said.

Starting the day with a balanced breakfast also energizes the body. Eating small frequent meals, like a small snack between main meal times, will help keep energy levels stable.

“Enjoy every bite of your food at every meal by eating slowly and savoring the taste, texture, and smell of your food,” Toppenish Medical Clinic Registered Dietitian Dianely Acevedo said. “Don’t forget to drink water, it’s calorie-free and hydrating.”

Acevedo and Nuñez offer a tip for hostesses, as well. Chew gum while preparing the meal to avoid nibbling too much before dinner time.

In addition, while planning the big occasion, remember to offer main or side dishes that include non-starchy vegetables, 100 percent whole grains and lean meats.

“Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, sweet peas, and sweet potatoes or yams,” Nuñez says.

While a big holiday meal is sure to be a treat, the dietitians say try waiting 30 minutes before having seconds. They also suggest listening to the body’s cues to help individuals decide if they really need more food.

“After dinner, get family involved in physical activities to help burn off a few calories,” Nuñez added.

Nuñez and Acevedo agree adopting these tips can help party-goers maintain their weight during the holidays and set them on the right track for focusing on weight loss after the holidays.


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