Staying Healthy for the Holidays
During the busy holiday season, being mindful about your health can get lost with all the holiday planning, parties, and social commitments. Eating right, being physically active, and getting enough sleep become difficult when office parties, holiday pageants, and family get-togethers are the priority.
This year, take charge to safeguard your health and the health and safety of your loved ones. Avoiding illness and injury is the best way to enjoy all your favorite holiday activities! Here are some tips to help ensure a healthy, happy holiday season.
Prevent the Spread of Germs
Germs are everywhere during the holiday season—shopping malls, airports, office parties—you name it! Make sure to wash your hands often by scrubbing them with lathered soap under warm, running water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
is a great way to reinforce proper hand washing.
Also, make sure to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue, cover your cough or sneeze with your upper sleeve, not your hands. And don’t forget your annual flu shot!
Practice Food Safety to Avoid Food Poisoning
Don’t create unpleasant holiday memories with food poisoning! Here are a few reminders:
- Keep foods separated by using different cutting boards for raw meats and ready-to-eat items, such as vegetables or bread.
- Use a food thermometer to ensure that holiday meats are cooked to the right temperature: 160 F for ground beef; 165 F for turkey, duck, and goose; and 145 F for steak, veal, lamb, and pork. Beef, veal, pork, and lamb also require 3 minutes of rest time before they are carved or eaten.
- Stores foods in the refrigerator at 40 F or below.
- If transporting foods, cold foods need to be kept cold, and hot foods need to remain hot. Transport cold foods in a cooler kept at 40 F or below. Hot foods need to remain hot at 140 F or above.
- Throw away perishable foods that are kept out for more than 2 hours.
Eat Mindfully, and Be Physically Active
Research suggests that many adults gain weight over the holiday, lose a few pounds afterward, and retain at least one pound. Over the years, the extra holiday weight can pack on the pounds!
excess eating can pack on the pounds.
You don’t have to deprive yourself of special holiday foods; instead, enjoy them in moderation. To help cut down on holiday weight gain:
- Eat a nutritious snack, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, before attending holiday parties. Having a healthy snack will help curb your hunger before you see all the holiday treats.
- Take a moment to look over all the different food offerings before you start putting food on your plate. If you see rich foods that you enjoy, just select a taste from one or two of those foods.
- Use a small plate, and move away from the food table after making your selections, where it is less tempting for you to grab more.
- Eat slowly, and enjoy each bite. Sip water while you eat.
- If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Alcoholic drinks are high in calories that add up fast.
- Plan to go for a walk or have a fun activity set for after the meal. If everyone plans on going for a walk or playing a game of basketball after the meal, they’ll be less likely to overindulge.
- Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to cut back on physical activity. Be physically active at least 2½ hours per week, and help your children be active at least an hour a day.
Don’t Drink and Drive
Driving drunk endangers everyone in your car as well as everyone else on the road. Don’t drink and drive. Always have a designated, sober driver.
the visual distortion and lack of control that impair drunk drivers.
Decorate with Safety in Mind
- Be careful when putting up holiday decorations to avoid accidents. Use stepladders and stepstools, not furniture, when hanging wreaths and other holiday items.
- Keep poisonous and other potentially harmful plants, such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias, out of the reach of children and pets.
- Ensure that your tree is in a stable stand so that it can’t tip over.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and radiators. If you have a natural tree, keep it well-watered. Turn off your tree lights when not in use.
- A fire in the fireplace adds holiday cheer, but never leave fireplaces or candles unattended. Keep candles away from your tree, too.
Keep a Watchful Eye on Children
The holidays are a time of wonder for children, but special foods, decorations, and toys can become dangerous in the blink of an eye. Keep ornaments, tinsel, small toys, and foods, such as peanuts and popcorn, that can be choking hazards away from the reach of young children.
Make certain that children can’t get their hands on any batteries. Small button batteries can damage the nasal cavity and cause hearing loss if placed in the nose or ears. If a child swallows a button battery, serious injury or death may result. Parents or caregivers who suspect a child has ingested a button battery need to seek immediate medical treatment.
provides childproofing tips for year-round safety.
Relax, and Don’t Overdo It
If you start feeling stressed out over the holidays, take some time for yourself to relax and do something you enjoy. Staying physically active throughout the season is also a great way to relieve stress. And make sure you don’t skimp on sleep!
Discover ways to help teach year-long healthy hygiene, nutrition, physical activity, safety, and stress management habits by visiting our Hygiene, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Safety, and Stress Management sections.
©2018 Health Edco®