HAHRC BEATS: Ways to make it a healthy holiday season

The holidays can often be busy and stressful for many of us. Below are a few suggestions to stay healthy and enjoy your holiday season:

Making healthy food choices.

• Do not show up to the party starving. Have a light snack such as a piece of fruit or handful of nuts before you go.

• Focus on eating vegetables first to fill up on the higher fiber, lower calorie food.

• Pick items at the buffet that you may not have other times of the year or items that really taste yummy to you. Portion control is still key!

• Try to limit volume of high calorie holiday drinks. Just 8 ounces of regular eggnog is over 200 calories and that is without any alcohol added to it.

• Consider using a smaller plate to help control portion sizes.

• Consider cooking up healthy meals ahead of time so you can just pull them out of the freezer on nights you are busy.


Healthy Active Hood River County (HAHRC) is a community healthy living coalition promoting wellness through increased physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco use prevention, behavioral health, prevention of addictions and policy and environmental change. HAHRC’s next meeting will be Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Providence Hood River Hospital Conference Room 5.

•Maintain daily movement or your exercise routine. Exercise can help combat those extra holiday calories and help control stress.

• If you find you do not have time to go for your long walk or exercise class, try to fit in 10 -15 minutes each day of movement.

• Park your car farther away from stores to increase your steps.

• Use stairs instead of an elevator or escalator.

• Get family or friends to go for a walk before or after your holiday meal or consider a walking date with a friend versus a lunch date.

Get plenty of sleep. A good night’s sleep can strengthen your immune system and help with relieving stress and anxiety.

• Try to go to bed and get up at the same time.

• Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and relaxing. Control the temperature so it’s not too hot or too cold.

• Minimize eating or drinking items high in sugar or caffeine in the evening or having a large meal just before bedtime.

Wash your hands often. This sounds obvious, but handwashing is one of the best ways to minimize getting sick or spreading germs. It’s better to spread cheer than germs!

• Count to 20 when washing your hands under running water with soap.

• Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue or your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hand.

• Talk to your healthcare provider about the flu vaccine.

Know your holiday stress points.

• Are there traditions or events you do not enjoy that you can politely decline this year?

• Ask yourself what makes you more irritable or pressured and what healthy choices you have to help manage those situations.

• As mentioned above, make time to exercise.

• Take 5 minutes to take deep breaths and clear your mind when you are feeling anxious or stressed.

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