November is Eat Smart Month and American Diabetes Month. Both topics are reminders to keep our health in check at an important time of the year – the start of the holiday season. Thanksgiving often marks the beginning of an annual uptick in caloric intake. Being surrounded by delicious foods and drinks can increase our risk for weight gain and chronic diseases. Below are some tips to stay healthy this holiday season.
Use a smaller plate. Smaller plates mean smaller portion sizes.
Start with fruits and vegetables. Fill half your plate with healthy foods.
Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals prior to a holiday meal can lead to overeating. Consider light snacks.
Try not to feel guilty. Be mindful of what you consume and enjoy in moderation.
In Eau Claire County and throughout Wisconsin, obesity, nutrition, and prediabetes are concerns. According to the Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2 in 3 adults are either overweight or obese and 4 in 5 adults report not eating the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Being overweight or obese and having poor nutrition can lead to prediabetes. Prediabetes is a health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called type 2 diabetes. 1 in 3 adults in Wisconsin have prediabetes, yet 90% of people don’t know they have it. Prediabetes can be reversed if caught early. Take 1-minute to know your risk for prediabetes at PreventDiabetesWI.org.
Checking your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and practicing these nutrition tips over the holidays can keep your health in check. Each day is a new day, and you can choose small changes to benefit your health. For more nutrition holiday tips, visit eatright.org.
Janessa VandenBerge, MPH, CHES, is a community health educator at the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.