Learn to keep weight off during the holidays

What is your favorite part of the holiday season? If food is high on your list, you’re not alone!

The holiday season brings many special celebrations with fun, family and food galore. Many families have traditions centered on fabulous foods and drinks that they get to enjoy only a few times per year. While celebrations are to be encouraged, it is wise to think carefully and make a plan of action before heading into a season traditionally filled with fat-laden and sugar-filled foods.

Americans typically gain one to three pounds (or even more) between Thanksgiving and the New Year; however, the holidays do not have to destroy your healthy eating plan. On face value, this is no big deal. The problem is that most people don’t lose that excess weight, and it adds up over several years, creating the possibility of chronic health problems. A few tips to help you stay on track are: Prepare healthy food and bring it with you to gatherings (fruit, salad with low-fat dressing, steamed vegetables); this will ensure you always have a healthy option in a room full of high fat and sugar foods. Eat a little something before you go so that you are less likely to overeat. Drink water in place of other beverages. Choose your favorites and watch portion sizes. With some planning and a little preparation, you can stay healthy at holiday gatherings with friends and family.

Today, join me for “Focus on the ‘Stars’ Cooking Healthy for the Holidays” program developed by Barbara Ames, Kansas State Cooperative Extension, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Hancock County-Purdue Extension Office, 802 N. Apple Street, Greenfield. After attending this program my hope is that you will have a new understanding of the effect of adding additional fat and sugar to recipes using fruits and vegetables; gain ideas for more healthful ways to prepare favorite holiday foods; and be motivated to think of ways to make it simple. We will have education discussion, you will receive recipes, and you will have the opportunity to sample healthy holiday dishes!

Megan Addison is the health and human services educator for Purdue Extension in Hancock County. She is a lifelong county resident. Send comments to dr-editorial@greenfieldreporter.com.