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Patch Pro: How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

How can a person eat healthy during the holidays? We don't know either. That's why we invited some experts for you to ask.

With the holiday season in full swing, eating healthy may seem impossible.

With that in mind, for two days at Patch, we have five pros who will answer your questions and offer some advice about avoiding gastric-gluttony during the holidays.

This week, our pros are:

  • Jeannemarie Beiseigel, PhD, RD, is a registered dietitian with a doctorate in human nutrition, foods, and exercise. She shares her knowledge as Zestar's Director of Nutrition. You can find more of Jeannemarie's blog posts at zestarapp.com.
  • Also joining the discussion is Gina Love, deli, meat and cheese manager for Just Food Co-op in Northfield.
  • Brian Coleman and Ramar Harper own Derived Beings, a gym in Oakdale that offers nutrition consultation, CrossFit, yoga and mental toughness. 
  • Barb Miller of Oakdale who blogs about recipes in her blog, "Cooking with the Kitchen Diva" on Oakdale Patch. Miller is a Blue Ribbon award winner on Just A Pinch Recipes for her innovative recipes and cooking tips. Miller has also authored several cookbooks.
  • Last, but not least, Deb Preachuk, BRS, BPE, Certified Posture Alignment Specialist, and ACE Group Fitness is a 20+ year veteran of the fitness, health and wellness field. The owner of Pain Free Posture MN in Lakeville and 5 Star Group Fitness Instructor for LifeTime Fitness, Deb has a passion to motivate and encourage people to take ownership of their health and fitness in mind-body-and-spirit. You can find more on Deb's blog at Achieving a Pain Free Life and Living

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, and Wednesday, Dec. 12, our experts will take questions from Patch users about healthy eating during the holidays. 

So go ahead and ask away! Leave your questions in the comments area below and they’ll check back regularly through Wednesday to answer your questions.

Editor's note: The contents of this post and comments are for informational and educational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional psychological, psychiatric or medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

Deb Preachuk December 12, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Foods that I personally recommend that you avoid at all costs (over the holidays and beyond) are what I call super-abnormally charged offenders. Pretty much anything that is processed or comes out of a package. Another to avoid is anything made with Genetically Modified grains/hormones. Also I'd encourage you to stay away from artificial flavors, food coloring and sweeteners.
Deb Preachuk December 12, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Liala - I'd like to encourage you to maintain a mindful approach to holiday eating by eating your regular meals throughout the day. Avoid foods/dishes that you know cause a disruption to your system, and healthfully add a favorite holiday dish to your plate. Focus while you are eating it, enjoy the taste and sensation and be mindful of how it actually tastes. Allow yourself to then ask important questions such as: 1. Am I still hungry? 2. Am I eating just because it's available? 3. Is this food giving my body nutrient dense calories, or is this empty nutrition. Depending on your answer you might choose one way or another. It's important to understand that you can easily undo a year or mores worth of good habit instillation by letting it all go over the holidays (or any other time for that matter). When we eat super-abnormally charged food items that trigger our brain into that easy sugar and fat dependent trap it's much like a drug addict or alcoholic who takes just one drink and ends up back at square one again. Ask yourself if you're willing to go through all that again. And if you are gluten sensitive for example, it can take weeks for your body to recover from the damage caused to your intestinal wall and autoimmune response. My advice? Go into the holidays with a plan of eating mindful of your goals.
Deb Preachuk December 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Derrick - You are ahead of the game because you know yourself well. Eating a little of everything over the holidays (depending on the choices you make) can be dangerous and add to the waistline. My advice to you is this: 1. Stay hydrated throughout your day. This helps with decreasing hunger dramatically. Best choice is always water, or water with slices of lemon or lime. 2. Maintain a regular meal plan if possible. Instead of skipping meals only to gorge at a buffet or party platter line is a dangerous practice. Your insulin level take a serious hit throughout the day, and you're more likely to over-indulge and eat way past the point of satiation. By eating your regular meals throughout the day, you're less likely to over eat period. 3. Ask yourself if you are actually hungry. Before you open your mouth to swallow "just one more bon-bon" stop and check if you are really hungry. If you could eat a steamed fish and broccolli, then go for it! But if you think again, you're eating just because it's available. Put the chocolate down, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself on noticing and practicing the difference between eating for hunger and eating just because you can. There's a big difference. 4. Fill up on veggies and protein first. With the higher nutrition and fiber content, your much more likely to experience satiation and satiety than if you eat nutrient poor processed foods. Hope these little tips help!
Heyitsme December 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Unless you have some type of disease, like diabetes, I don't think a once a year, eating a little bit unhealthy is going to damage the rest of the year's healthy eating. Treat yourself, and remember to go back to eating correctly the rest of the following year.
Jeannemarie Beiseigel, PhD, RD December 13, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Hi Heyitsme, I tend to agree - the holidays are about enjoying time with family & firends and they often involve unique, enjoyable, albeit less-than-healthy, food-related customs, traditions, and events. The trick is keeping holiday food indulgences to a few separate, memorable occasions scattered throughout the season and not a month (plus) string of over-the-top meal-to-meal excessiveness. So go ahead and enjoy and get back on track at the next meal. Happy Holidays!

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