Dietitian offers healthy dining options for the holiday season

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One of the best options for attending a holiday party when on a diet is bringing your own food. Making your own dish allows full control and knowledge of the serving size, nutritional information and ingredients. File photo, The Campus Ledger

Kim Harms

News editor

kharms3@jccc.edu

Thanksgiving is over and the remaining celebrations of the holiday season are fast-approaching. Remaining on a diet is difficult during this time of the year, however, the college offers ways to stay healthy over Winter break.

Some families cook their own holiday dinners, while other families go to a restaurant or holiday party. Claudia Martin-Ayoade, registered dietitian for the college, said the first thing anyone who broke their diet during Thanksgiving should keep moving forward with their meal plan.

“First thing is to just let it go; it’s one day, get over it and get back on track,” Martin-Ayoade said. “You want to incorporate some exercises now to help burn some of the extra calories off. If you overindulge a lot then you may want to be eating a lot more vegetable-focused meals. Stay away from sweets for a while, drink a lot more water and stay away from alcohol. If you watch what you eat going forward, you should be fine.”

One of the best options for attending a holiday party when on a diet is bringing your own food. Making your own dish allows full control and knowledge of the serving size, nutritional information and ingredients.

“If you know you overindulge at Thanksgiving then you’re probably going to do it again over the Christmas break because there is always a lot of food around,” Martin-Ayoade said. “Eat a small healthy snack before you go so you won’t be as hungry. When you get there, bring something that you can eat that you know is healthy for you. If you can bring something that you know is good for you, other people may appreciate it as well. Try to have one drink that lasts the whole time because alcohol packs a lot of calories.”

There are many red flags to look out for when ordering a holiday meal at restaurants. Entrees and side dishes that sound or look healthy may contain additives and ingredients excluded from your diet. Calling the restaurant and ordering food ahead of time can help determine if the menu will fit your dietary needs.

“One of the more difficult things when you go out to eat is, most of the time, the steamed vegetables are steamed in butter,” Martin-Ayoade said. “If you order salad, let them put the dressing to the side so you can control what goes in there. Order more lean meats, if you have to eat meat that is fried try to take the skin off. Watch your portion sizes too; ask them for to-go containers. Start with vegetables and drink a lot of water so you don’t eat the food that is not necessarily good for you.”

College students are under a lot of stress during December. With finals, transfer applications and scholarship deadlines, resisting the urge to stress eat is difficult. Martin-Ayoade said stress eating is normal as long as you do it in a healthy way.

“Keep healthy food around, if you have unhealthy food around then that is what you’re going to eat,” Martin-Ayoade. “When you’re stress eating, you’re going to eat what is at home. You want to have fruits, yogurt, string cheese, peanut butter…food that is not overly caloric to begin with. Students are under a lot of stress, however, they should try to get more sleep. Fluids and rest are vital when your body is under a lot of stress.”

Examples of healthy holiday meals and recipes can be found at www.choosemyplate.gov. Martin-Ayoade can be contacted at cmarti59@jccc.edu with any questions about dietary options offered on campus.

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