While the holidays bring to mind many things, like parties, gift giving and especially eating, the New Year strikes quite a different tone: resolutions, exercise, diet, and good intentions.
Eating right and staying healthy is a year-long challenge for everyone. For the nearly 31 million Americans with diabetes, however, it can be especially difficult. However, people with diabetes are not the only ones who could use a post-holiday meal makeover. Everyone can benefit from a healthy eating plan. Managing others with eating problems keeps each of us on the right track. Making smart food choices helps both all of us maintain a healthy weight.
How can you help those you love make the right diet and exercise choices without feeling deprived? These easy tips may make all the difference:
* Plan ahead for healthy snacks between meals to curb the urge to overindulge
Have healthy snacks, like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products, available at home or pack them up to take to work. When you are not starving, you will be less likely to overindulge on high-calorie snacks.
* Look for healthier desserts
If those you are concerned about, especially those within your immediate family, have a sweet tooth, choose desserts made with fruit, which are healthier than cheesecakes and chocolates, and just as delicious. Try new low sugar recipes to share together.
* Exercise — for everyone
Volunteer to exercise with him or her while doing things you enjoy. Take a stroll around the neighborhood, organize a family time of sledding, or take the kids bowling. Anything that gets you moving can make a big difference. Always consult a physician before beginning an exercise routine.
* Don’t be the food police
Be supportive and caring, not judgmental, if you notice them eating something he or she should not. Stay positive and encouraging instead of overanalyzing every bite.
* Lead by example
Eat healthy alongside others. Do not tempt poor eating habits if there are foods you know should be avoided. Don’t keep this type of food in the house or offer them to individuals with diabetes or other eating problems.
See the new publication Cooking It Up! Diabetes-Healthy Recipes Everyone Will Loveon the University of Wyoming website at http://www.wyoextension.org/publications/Search_Details.php?pubid=1927&pub=B-1277. Recipes for this cookbook were recommended by Wyoming cooks and extension educators and analyzed using Nutritionist Pro at the University of Wyoming.
We now know it is more important to incorporate foods you enjoy into meal plans than live with the message you can never eat them again. The nutrition and food safety team at University of Wyoming Extension encourages overall balance. If you want to consume a food high in carbohydrates, plan it into the meal. Don’t just “tack it on.”
The best way to recover from holiday meals? Get right back on track! Continue with your regular diet and exercise schedule, and let the previous days go. Start the first morning of the New Year with a glass of water and something light, like fruit and yogurt, to detox the body. Then continue to eat light for the rest of the day.
Though there are many tricks and tips for losing weight, packing on the pounds comes down to simple math: Consume more than you burn off, and you’ll gain weight. Sadly, increasing your exercise workload is not an effective way to cancel out chronic binging, during the holidays or any time of the year.
Here’s an idea of how much exercise you’d have to do to break even on your holiday indulgences:
2,100 jumping jacks: This exercise will sweat off the calories in 1 cup of egg nog
280 pushups: Sheds the calories in one glass of wine
1 hour, 30 minutes of calisthenics: Burns off a serving of nuts
2 hours of moderate walking: Eradicates one slice of pecan pie
13 minutes of jump rope: This activity will make that drink you took New Year’s Eve a distant memory
Healthy eating does not have to be a battle. Get the whole family involved to ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy new year!
(Source: USDA, UW Nutrition and Food Safety website)
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