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Eating right during the holidays

David Freidson | Posted: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 10:15 am

As healthy eating is a timely topic for the holiday season, Dr. Freidson has focused on it for December. Look for the final part of his Paleo diet series in January.

We celebrated Thanks-giving last week, and with it the beginning of “The Holiday Season.” Many words come to mind during this time of year: family, happiness and joy, just to name a few.

Another word that often comes to mind is food. We often throw our diets and healthy-eating habits out the window starting on Thanksgiving. We may say to ourselves that we can pick up healthy eating after the New Year. So what inevitably happens is that we gain some inches around our waists an d the scale goes up 5-10 pounds between Christmas and New Year’s. Now, the 15 pounds we wanted to lose turns into 25.

The #1 New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. To be successful, a goal must be measurable and have an end date. So we may say that we want to lose 25 pounds so that we weigh 150 pounds by Apr., 1, for example.

I have a great weight goal for the holidays: just maintain your weight. Even if you want to lo se weight, doing so during the holidays is very challenging, and failure can be discouraging. But if you can stay at your current weight from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, then you should have no problem losing weight after Jan. 1.

Many workplace break rooms are filled with cookies and other delicious treats this time of year. If you walk by and are hungry, then you’ll probably grab one or two, which is why it’s very important to not let yourself get hungry at work. You can do that by making sure you have a good breakfast, bringing healthy snacks to work, and planning out your lunch in advance. If you’ve had a hearty breakfast, and just had an apple at your desk, those cookies might not seem as appealing.

Speaking of cookies, many people do a cookie exchange over the holidays. This is a fun way for friends or co-workers to get together during the holidays, but it is also a great way to overdo it with sweets. I was talking about my disdain for the cookie exchange wi th Mollie, my marketing director, and she said that her mom has been doing a soup exchange for years. I think that’s a great, healthy idea, one that could be implemented in a cookie exchange’s place this year.

Many of us eat because we’re actually dehydrated. The simple solution for this is to drink more water. During the day, always have a water bottle nearby. Before you eat at your holiday meals, make sure you have some water first.

And during your holiday meal, try to eat the healthy food items first. Of course, a couple of those items can also go either way: the health benefits of sweet potatoes decrease when they are doused with brown sugar and marshmallows, and the same goes for green beans covered in a cream sauce.

My suggestion is actually not to eliminate green bean casserole, or whatever else is a tradition for your family, but to make a healthier version to complement the “regular” version. You’re already making the sweet potatoes with the marshmallows, why not put some plain sweet potatoes in a dish?

My team and I just finished a PowerPoint on healthy eating and stress reduction through the holidays and presented it as part of a “lunch and learn” program — many of the concepts in that PowerPoint were included in this column.

If you think your workplace could benefit from a lunch and learn program, please contact my marketing director Mollie, at mollieobrien@synergyhealthmn.com.We bring a healthy lunch to your office, and the food and our presentation are free. It’s our way of giving back to the com munity.

Dr. David Freidson is a licensed chiropractor and works out of the S ynergy Health & Rehabilitation office in Wayzata. To learn more, visitwww.synergyhealthmn.com or call (952) 475-4080.

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