Helpful tips for healthful holiday eating

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn.—During the holiday season, it can be difficult to make healthful eating choices. Throughout the month of December, many people spend much of their time surrounded by sugary treats, salty snacks and tempting drinks. Gaining 5 to 10 pounds before the new year may seem inevitable, but that’s not so, according to Paul Ratte, ND, a naturopathic practitioner at Northwestern Health Sciences University’s Natural Care Center at Woodwinds in Woodbury, Minn.

“Research shows that we tend to gain an average of one pound during the holiday season,” says Ratte. “However, that’s a permanent pound, so after 20 years, we’re 20 pounds heavier.”

To avoid gaining that holiday pound, Ratte offers these tips for the holiday season:

Don’t skip meals. Eat breakfast and small, frequent meals throughout the day so you will be able to resist snacks in the evening.

Plan ahead. When you are going into a situation where you will feel the urge to eat, write down ahead of time what you will do when tempted to overindulge. Carry that paper with you.

Wear clothing that makes you feel good about yourself. If you feel comfortable and pleased with yourself, you will be less likely to eat emotionally.

Take a walk before a meal to boost your energy and get your mind off food; and

Participate in activities that aren’t centered on food such as sledding, skating or caroling. Remember, the holidays are a time to spend with family or friends, not food.

By following Ratte’s tips, you can avoid gaining that extra pound—and celebrate the holidays focused on your loved ones and not food.

For additional resources on staying healthy through the holidays, go to, a Web site focusing on natural approaches to health and wellness hosted by Northwestern Health Sciences University.

From the Nov. 22-28, 2006, issue

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