The American Heart Association’s ‘Healthy for Good’ movement has published simple tips for self-care this season. As part of Eat Smart Month in November, the Middle Tennessee American Heart Association, the leading voluntary health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives, is providing resources to make the healthy choice the easy choice this holiday season.
“The holidays can present nutrition challenges along with stressors that can affect our eating and exercise routines. However, we can still be successful with healthy eating during the holiday season and enjoy this time of year by making small changes,“ says Cindy Osborn, RD, LDN, CDE, Vanderbilt Heart Dietitian. “For example, healthy decisions like choosing baked over fried foods, limiting “sweet treats” to twice a week, minimizing calorie-laden beverage intake and getting in some activity each day might not seem like much but each change will have an impact on our heart health. Remember, small consistent changes over time equal success.”
A recent survey conducted by Aramark and the American Heart Association showed more than three out of four (77%) employed U.S. adults say they’re more likely to make healthier decisions at other times of the day if they eat healthy at lunch. Bridget Wojciak, RDN, LD, senior nutrition coordinator at Kroger, a national supporter of Healthy for Good, also warns against one common mistake: putting healthy habits on hold.
“Don’t let the holidays scare you,” Wojciak said. “It’s ok to have some of your holiday favorites, just don’t lose sight of the nutrition basics like consuming adequate water throughout the day, combining protein and fiber at meals to help stay full, and incorporating fruits and veggies at both snacks and meals.”
The American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good Eat Smart Initiative offers five tips for nourishing yourself this holiday season:
1. Get creative with swaps: Cooking at home is a great way to take control of your diet and tweak favorite seasonal dishes. Reduce sodium by replacing salt with herbs and spices, adding more fruits and vegetables to dishes and using lower-sodium canned and frozen products. Combine lower-sodium foods with regular versions to help your taste adapt.
2. Snack smart: To avoid overindulging at holiday gatherings, prep with nutrient-rich, good mood foods that don’t sacrifice taste.
3. Take your time: Don’t rush through meals. Enjoy mealtime with family and friends by pausing between bites and savoring your food.
4. Use time-saving technology: Many grocers make it easy to shop deals and save time with online ordering and pick-up and delivery options. Plus, it’s easier to resist that candy bar in the checkout line if you aren’t in a staring contest with it.
5. Practice meditation: It can help lower blood pressure, improve your immune system and spur you to eat better and exercise more.
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