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FESTIVE FIXINGS

- Enjoy Guilt-Free Eating Over the Holidays by Making Healthy Food Choices, Says Registered Dietitian –

With food being such a big part of the festive season, local residents are being encouraged to enjoy ‘guilt-free eating’ as part of the holidays.

“Healthy eating is not about one food, meal, day or even week, so much as establishing a healthy eating pattern over time,” says Kimberly Leadbeater, a Registered Dietitian with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit. “In the end, it’s not really what you eat between December 25 and January 1. It’s the other 51 weeks that really count!”

Striking a balance in what people eat over the holidays is the best advice that Leadbeater can give them. “Often, it is not what you eat, but how much you eat that can make a difference,” she notes.

Watching portion sizes is one of the best ways to handle the onslaught of festive food. One trick that Leadbeater suggests is to use a smaller plate at the next buffet, potluck or holiday get-together. Another tip is to identify “must-have” treats over the holidays, and avoid or limit other options. “Promise to have a few favourites over the holidays and aim to make healthy choices the rest of the time,” she says.

Eating Well With Canada’s Food Guide can also be a valuable resource for determining serving sizes.

Some other healthy eating tips to consider over the holidays:

  • Be watchful of sodium intake, especially when it comes to prepackaged processed holiday foods such as sausage rolls and hors d’oeuvres. These tend to have high sodium content. When hosting friends or families for the holidays, try using smaller portion sizes of these processed foods and also offer healthier vegetable and fruit trays.
  • Don’t go to a holiday party on an empty stomach. Have a small snack before you go, so as not to overindulge.
  • Let the holiday spirit move you. Staying active over the holidays is a good way to cope with seasonal stress and compensate for extra foods you might eat.

With the New Year on the horizon, Leadbeater says it is also a good time to resolve to eat better in 2014. There are a variety of online resources to assist people to achieve their healthy eating goals, including the Health Unit, Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, Eat Right Ontario and Dietitians of Canada .

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For media inquiries, contact:

Kimberly Leadbeater, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (613) 475-0933, or 1-866-888-4577, ext. 4235.

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