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Healthy Holiday Eating

It seems the holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and it is a time for parties, big family gatherings, and a large amount of food.

Hot Springs, Ark. – It seems the holiday season lasts from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and it is a time for parties, big family gatherings, and a large amount of food.  It is also a time that most of us tend to overeat.  Did you know feeling full after eating has just as much to do with the brain as it does the stomach?  It generally takes around 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in the stomach to send “full” signals to the brain.  In today’s fast-paced society, how many of us eat our meals in less than 20 minutes?  Here are a few tips to healthier eating through the holiday season and throughout 2016. 

  • Use a smaller plate.  Using a plate closer to the size of a salad plate can trick your brain into thinking you  are eating more than you really are.  Because the plates are smaller, you can easily fill them up making it look like a lot of food.
  • Eat slower.  Take time to enjoy the food you are eating.  Not only will taking 20 minutes allow your stomach time to signal your brain that you are full, it can also help to ward off indigestion, acid reflux, and heartburn. 
  • Build a better plate.  The MyPlate dietary guidelines recommend half of your plate be made up of fruits and vegetables, one quarter whole grains, and the other quarter lean protein.  Read the ingredient labels to make sure they say “whole”.  Refined whole wheat and “whole” wheat are not the same.  Lean proteins include fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.  For more information on building a better plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.
  • Limit liquid sugars.  Beverages sweetened with sugar such as non-diet sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened iced tea provide you with a lot of empty calories and have little to no nutritional value.  Studies have also shown that sugary drinks may also raise your threshold for satiety (or feeling full) which in turn can increase the amount you eat and promote weight gain.
  • Eat breakfast.  It’s easy to skip out on breakfast when you are in a hurry.  Eating a healthy breakfast can help reduce rises in blood sugar and insulin throughout the day.  In turn, this can lower your risk of overeating and impulse snacking.
  • Select smaller portions. Healthy eating doesn't mean you have to skip your favorite dessert.  You can satisfy your sweet tooth by enjoying those items in smaller portions. Remember – moderation is key. If you want to savor dessert, cut back on other food items.
  • Watch your sodium intake.  The American Heart Association recommends 1500mg of sodium per day --that is about 2/3 teaspoon of table salt.  On average, Americans consume around 3400mg, more than double the recommended amount.

Remember to celebrate the holidays by focusing on what the holidays are really about – spending time with family and friends, not food.

For more tips on healthy eating contact the Garland County Extension Service at 623-6841 or 922-4703, visit www.uaex.edu, or email Jessica at jvincent@uaex.edu.

EHC Information

Are you interested in joining an existing Extension Homemakers Club? EHC is the largest volunteer organization in the state. For information on EHC call 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email jvincent@uaex.edu.

Master Gardeners

If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener and would like more information, you’re welcome to attend their monthly meeting on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 1pm at the Elks Lodge.  You may also call the Extension office on 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email abates@uaex.edu.

4-H Information

We have several 4-H clubs for our Garland county youth who are 5 to 19 years old.  For more information on all the fun 4-H activities there are, call the Extension Office at 623-6841 or 922-4703 or email Linda Bates at lbates@uaex.edu

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

 

By Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jessica Vincent
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
236 Woodbine Hot Springs AR 71901
(501) 623-6841
jvincent@uaex.edu

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  • The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

    The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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