Last updated: December 24. 2013 11:34AM - 1020 Views
Agnes Hapka ahapka@civitasmedia.com

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OHIO VALLEY — Eat, drink, and be merry, as ‘they’ say. The question is, what and how much should we eat and drink? If we’re eating and drinking sensibly, can we still be merry?

According to Pleasant Valley Hospital’s registered dieticians Sharon Hall and Sue Malik, staying healthy and having a good time over the holidays is possible.

Hall advises approaching the buffet table with some reserve and a stomach already semi-full.

“If you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, maybe eat a piece of fruit before you go,” Hall said.

Malik agreed, adding that drinking a glass of water before eating can also be quite effective.

The dieticians said that they recommend not trying to reduce over the holiday season. Instead, they agreed that it’s better to set a goal of maintaining one’s present weight.

“It’s not realistic to try to lose weight right now,” said Malik. “And if you do over-indulge one day, well, it’s just one day. You can start over tomorrow.”

“Don’t beat yourself up,” said Hall.

Malik and Hall propose being a little picky when it comes to different dishes.

“If there’s any one particular holiday specialty you love, choose that rather than something you don’t care about so much,” Hall said. “If you really love a certain pie, then have a slice of that with some fruit, instead of loading up on a bit of every dessert.”

“Yes, and try to eat a wide range of things, including fruits and vegetables,” said Malik.

The dieticians said that people might want to bear in mind that some traditional holiday foods carry a surprising number of calories.

“Dressing is one of those,” said Hall. “It adds an awful lot of calories to the plate.”

Setting a steady eating pace by eating regular meals is a good idea, Malik noted. “You’re less likely to over-indulge if you’re not starving when you get to the table.”

The habit of skipping meals in order to ‘save up’ for the big one may have a more serious side-effect, Hall added.

“Diabetics must eat three meals a day,” Hall said. “The health risks of missing regular meals are quite serious in those cases.”

“That’s very hazardous,” Malik agreed.

Watch your alcohol intake, too, said Malik.

“Alchoholic drinks add a lot of hidden calories,” she said. “Try to restrict yourself to just one drink with a meal.”

Last but certainly not least, the two said, stay active.

“Bundle up, and get outside in the cold,” said Malik.

“Go for a walk after dinner,” Hall added. “That’ll also help decrease the holiday stress.”

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