10 eating tips for the holiday season.

ORANJESTAD - The Department of Public Health Aruba is providing 10 tips for healthy eating during the festive days.

Traditional Christmas feastThe holiday season is an occasion for friends and family gatherings, that in most cases are filled with food and snacks. The holiday food is common to be prepared in bigger portions to be enjoyed in higher volume and more frequently during the day. During these days, most people surpass their daily food intake and eventually gain weight and causing an upset stomach.

It is not unusual that the caloric intake during these days can be at least 3 times (around 6000 calories) the normal daily intake. This in combination with less than usual physical activity may result in a weight gain of 1 kg per every 2 - 3 days. The excess food intake is not the only culprit, but also the increased amount of sugar and fat intake in the food and drinks we consume.

Here are 10 tips to keep in mind during these days;

  1. Eat balanced food year-round even during festive occasions. Eat sufficient fruits and vegetables with any other meals to balance the vitamins, minerals and fiber intake essential to your body.
  2. Eat at regular hours. Do not skip meals, but replace these with healthy snacks like fruits, low-fat yogurt or integral crackers before any big “festive” meals.
  3. Control meal portions. At buffets keep the portions moderate, scoop half your plate with vegetables and salads, 1/4 with meats or seafood and 1/4 with rice, potatoes or pasta.
  4. Choose or cook the healthiest option when planning on eating out. This may include cooking in the oven, a skillet with very little cooking oils, boiling or steaming, etc. Choose clear salad dressings for your salads instead of the creamy dressings. This is also valid for soups, clear soups instead of creamy or bisques.
  5. Avoid high sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages. Drink or 2 sodas or juices and water during the rest of the day.
  6. Eat slow and chew properly. Studies show that slow eating makes you feel full quicker and makes you eat less. This way you will enjoy the meal better while your body takes advantage of the nutrients.
  7. Do not halt any physical activity during these days as it will help control weight gain burning excess calories.
  8. Stop eating once you feel full. Do not force yourself to eat more, but rather ask to take out the meal to be consumed the next day or shared with others. Skip the food by telling politely “it looks good but I am full.”
  9. Prepare healthier food and snacks. Instead of using high amounts of mayonnaise, combine this with yogurts for salads. Cook in the oven, a skillet with minimum oils, boil or steam, etc.
  10. Eat and enjoy the holiday meals but with moderation.

There is no need to feel guilty after the holiday meals if you eat in moderation.

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