The arrival of Thanksgiving brings about plenty of family, friends, festivities and food, but extra pounds don’t have to be part of your annual traditions. The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is offering Hoosiers tips on how to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain that often comes with them.
“The holiday season is often filled with parties and celebrations, and it’s easy to overindulge,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “By planning ahead and staying active, Hoosiers can enjoy their holiday treats without packing on pounds that are often hard to shed.”
To avoid some common holiday eating pitfalls:
- Don’t skip meals. Eat before you attend a party, so you don’t show up hungry.
- Add fruit and vegetable trays to your holiday feast, and if you must add a dip, try yogurt-based dips.
- Limit high-calorie alcoholic drinks that can also lower inhibitions and increase the likelihood of overeating.
- Drink water and unsweetened drinks like iced tea instead of sweet, calorie-laden drinks. Drink water 30 minutes before each meal to help curb your appetite.
- Find ways to burn off extra calories. Sign up for a holiday walk or run. Go ice skating or walk around the neighborhood to see holiday decorations.
Holiday parties where food is served buffet style and sits out for long periods of time can also pose a health risk. Leaving food out at room temperature too long can cause bacteria, such as Salmonella and E.coli, to grow to dangerous levels that can cause illness. Follow these tips to keep your food safe:
- Never leave food out of refrigeration for more than two hours.
- Keep hot food at or above 140°F. Place cooked food in chafing dishes, preheated steam tables, warming trays and/or slow cookers.
- Keep cold food at or below 40°F. Keep food in the refrigerator or in containers placed in bowls of ice. You also can use small serving trays and replace them often.
- Store leftovers properly by placing them in shallow containers for quick cooling and refrigerating them at 40°F or below within two hours.
- Cook poultry to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. If using stuffing inside the turkey, it should also be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
- Do not wash the turkey.
- Wash hands before working with food or when working from raw food to cooked food.