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Experts Suggest Ways to Eat Smart, Move More During Holidays

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Thursday, December 6, 2018   

RICHMOND, Va. – Health experts say with a little bit of planning, it's possible to survive the holidays without overindulging.

One tip is to avoid being ravenous by doing a bit of "pre-gaming" with a small meal at home before heading out to the next house or office party.

Whitney Voorhees, a registered dietitian with Bon Secours Health System in Richmond, says even the most dedicated and health conscious individual can fall victim to eating too much of the "good stuff," but she's found there are plenty of ways to eat smart throughout the season.

"I teach practicing the 80/20 rule of moderation,” she states. “So, what that means is, you strive to make the healthier choice 80 percent of the time – and if you can hold yourself accountable to that, then there is certainly room for some indulgences."

Studies show the pounds packed on during the holidays tend to stick around through the rest of the year.

The American Heart Association has more nutritional tips and recipes to help people avoid those pounds on its website – heart.org – in the Healthy Living section.

Voorhees recommends moderate eating and mixing in exercise whenever possible by simply making it a goal to be more active in general.

She adds one way of ensuring that you have access to healthy food is by making it yourself.

"A lot of people are more likely to snack on fruits and vegetables if they're cut up for them and nicely displayed,” she points out. “So, if you can be the one to bring a healthier option, that will allow both you and some of your friends to keep it pretty sensible through that holiday season."

Other healthy tips include embracing substitutes and modifying your favorite meals and beverages.

For instance, instead of using heavy cream or whole milk in dairy-based drinks, choose low-fat or skim milk.

She also recommends adding sugar-free flavors to water and using fruits and spices – such as cinnamon, cloves and cranberries – to add a burst of festive flavor.


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