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Eat Smart Month: Watch the Holiday Meals

This holiday season, South Dakotans should use vegetables and fruits to add some color and vitamins to their meals, health experts say. (jill111/Pixabay)
This holiday season, South Dakotans should use vegetables and fruits to add some color and vitamins to their meals, health experts say. (jill111/Pixabay)
November 1, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The holiday season is around the corner, and while that means fun get-togethers with family and friends, it also means hearty meals that can add up at the waistline. That's why health professionals and the American Heart Association are celebrating Eat Smart Day today, as well as the kickoff for Eat Smart Month.

Studies show that half the weight gain from the holidays sticks around until summer. Tiffany Krogstad, a dietitian at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, said it's important to remember what a balanced diet includes.

"Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy protein - including dairy, nuts, seeds, healthy fats," she said. "So the majority of the time, you are eating balanced meals, but then that gives you a time when it's OK to indulge in sweets or something that you typically wouldn't eat. But then, it's also important to watch your portion sizes."

Krogstad said eating breakfast can keep a person feeling full longer and slow them down during big meals, and adding herbs and spices such as garlic and pepper is a good way to avoid the salt shaker and decrease sodium intake.

Folks should reserve more indulgent meals for the holidays, she said, but it's also important not to focus on the bad if you stray from a healthy meal every now and then.

"It's a time to celebrate, and that's a social thing, and food tends to be a social thing," she said. "And so, I think that as long as you do everything in moderation and get back on track the next day, it's nothing to hang your head about."

About two in three adults and one in three children are overweight or obese. Eat Smart Month is part of the AHA's "Healthy for Good" movement, which focuses on eating smart, adding more color - such as vegetables - to meals, getting more exercise and making "being well" a priority.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - SD