TOPPENISH — Maintaining a healthy diet during the holidays can be hard with all the parties, and high calorie treats offering temptation.

With a little planning, you can enjoy your holiday meals while keeping nutrition and wellness goals a top priority.

Registered dietitians at Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic say that the key is in providing your body with sustained energy.

Exercise is the key, clinic Registered Dietitian Rocio Petersen said.

“Fit in exercise most days, aiming for 30 minutes. If you can’t do it all at once, break it into three 10-minute segments throughout the day,” Petersen said.

“Keeping active will help balance the higher-calorie holiday meals that you consume throughout the day.” 

She recommends starting the day with a balanced breakfast also energizes the body. Eating small frequent meals, like a small snack between main meal times, will help keep energy levels stable.

“Enjoy every bite of your food at every meal by eating slowly and savoring the taste, texture and smell of your food,” Petersen said.

“Don’t forget to drink water, it’s calorie-free and hydrating.”

If you’re in charge of the big holiday dinner, Petersen suggests it could help to chew gum while preparing the meal to avoid nibbling too much before dinner time.

In addition, while planning the big occasion, remember to offer main or side dishes that include non-starchy vegetables, 100 percent whole grains, and lean meats.

“Starchy vegetables include potatoes, corn, sweet peas, and sweet potatoes or yams,” Petersen said.

While a big holiday meal is sure to be a treat, dietitians say try waiting 30 minutes before having seconds. They also suggest listening to your body’s cues to help you decide if you really need more food.

“After dinner, get family involved in physical activities to help balance out heavier meals, as well as enjoy family time that’s not centered around food,” she added.

Petersen said following these tips can help maintain weight during the holidays and set people on the right track for focusing on weight loss after the holidays.

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