The holidays should be a joyful, pleasant time of year, but they're often punctuated by coughs and sniffles, eater's remorse, days without exercise and food poisoning. Find out what you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy this holiday season.
Disinfect your hands, home
The holidays are a prime time for contracting the flu or a cold virus, especially when you've got out-of-town guests or your family is the guest. Avoid getting sick by setting up a regimen of hand-washing that the family follows, especially after using the bathroom, before preparing food and before eating. It's not a bad idea to wash your hands anytime you return home after a shopping trip, a playdate or when returning from school or work.
Disinfecting common household surfaces will aid in your battle against cold and flu germs. Don't forget frequently touched objects like light switches, doorknobs, sink handles, drawer knobs, refrigerator handles, phones and purses.
While this may seem easier said than done, the
University of California
laid out a few simple rules to follow to keep from padding your waistline during the holidays:
- Don't hang out at the appetizer table (to avoid mindless eating while socializing)
- Don't starve yourself before a big meal
- Drink plenty of water before and during a meal
- Eat slowly
Choose your calories wisely
Weight gain during the holidays is common but not inevitable. When it comes to what you eat, not all foods were made equal.
"A diet of sweets and starches are linked to chronic inflammation that may lead to high cholesterol and high blood sugar (diabetes)," according to Glenn Burkett Wellness . "Uncontrollable desires for sweets and starches are often a symptom of candida overgrowth (fungus) or hypoglycemia."
Withstand your cravings for sweets by keeping healthy snacks on hand, take healthy food when you attend a family potluck, and when you do partake of dessert, use a small plate and don't go back for seconds.
Fit in some fitness
In all the hustle and bustle of preparing for the holidays, you might feel like you don't have time for exercise (besides power walking around the grocery store for those crucial ingredients you forgot). But you can stay active by changing up your routine a little.
Get up a little earlier to work out or take a walk during your lunch. When you go shopping, take a couple extra laps around the mall while you're at it. Make a goal to maintain or lose weight through the holidays and give yourself an incentive (i.e. a new outfit, a spa treatment, a night out with friends). Tell your friends about your goal and encourage each other. You'll be surprised what a difference it makes when someone else helps keep you accountable.
Prevent food poisoning
Holiday food might be one of the best parts of the season, but it can also be one of the most dangerous parts. When food isn't prepared properly or kept warm enough or cold enough, it will be unsafe to eat.
"Food poisoning causes an estimated 48 million illnesses (1 in 6 Americans) with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year in the United States," the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics.
The trick to avoiding food poisoning is to cook meat to the proper temperature — 145 degrees Fahrenheit for pork and ham, 160 degrees for beef and lamb and 165 degrees for poultry, according to foodsafety.gov . It should then be refrigerated within two hours to a temperature at or below 40 degrees.
For more information on how to stay healthy this holiday season and prevent chronic inflammation, visit