Sugar Land (November 11, 2015)

Halloween typically ushers in the season of overindulgence. Piles of trick-or-treat candy are closely followed by big holiday dinners and then New Year celebrations. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two of weight gain every year.

“I think it is okay for everyone to indulge every once in a while especially on days like Halloween and Thanksgiving,” says Rita Connors, dietitian at Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital. “The problem is when that indulgence happens every day and the holidays almost become an excuse to eat.”

Connors says it’s important to find a healthy balance in your diet year round but especially during the holidays. “It’s especially important during the season of holiday parties. Many people will go all day without eating trying to “save up” for a party they’re attending at night,” says Connors. “It’s better to make healthy choices during the day and consider a light snack before a party, maybe some carrots or other raw vegetables. You’ll be less tempted to overeat later in the evening.”

A key factor in eating healthy is education. Connors suggests taking time to educate your family on food. Time spent discussing food and good food choices can lead to the development of healthier eating habits. “Read the labels at the grocery store so that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body,” says Connors.

Plan your snacks by having tasty and healthy ready-to-eat items nearby so you won’t be tempted to make a less healthy choice. Snack when you’re hungry and not because you’re bored. Always drink plenty of water and be careful of flavored waters, they can often be high in added sugars so be sure to look over the labels.

“People focus too much on what’s good and what’s bad,” says Connors. “Every food can fit in a healthy diet if eaten in moderation.”

According to Connors, below are a few tips families can use while at home:

Connors also suggests incorporating a good weight training and strength training program to help develop more muscle mass. The added muscle mass will help the body to burn more calories at rest.

There are countless benefits to eating a healthy diet. Healthy habits can decrease the likelihood of many health conditions like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Connors says it’s important to find a balance. Try to eat from the each of the four food groups, protein, dairy, grains and fruits and vegetables. Listen to your body when you’re hungry and stop eating when you feel satisfied.

Memorial Hermann has registered dietitians available for consultations. For more information visit memorialhermann.org or call your nearest Memorial Hermann facility.