Healthier holidays begin with your fork and spoon

The Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council hosted Southeast Area Farmers’ Market vendors for an appreciation breakfast at Sanchel’s Breakfast Anytime last week. Left to right, Darlene Gibbons, vendor; Roni VanBuren, OKT; Jill Myer, KCHD; Cynthia Price, GGRFSC; and Yvonne Woodard, Vendor and OKT Vendor Liaison.

Last week, many of us kicked off the holiday season with a delicious Thanksgiving Day feast. At work and family gatherings, you may find ample opportunity to over-indulge in high-calorie, low-nutrient foods. Do your health a favor by limiting the amounts you let in your mouth.

Did you know that if you eat just 300 additional calories between now and New Year’s Day, you could gain five pounds of unwanted fat? In addition to added weight, indulging in sugary treats can also weaken your immune system, making you more likely to come down with winter colds and flu.

When tempting treats come your way, remember the following:

The banquet’s in the first bite. Did you ever notice that the first bite you take of a favorite food tastes the best? When it comes to high calorie treats, indulge in just one bite… or maybe two.

Portion patrol. Your stomach is about the size of your fist. Plan your portions accordingly. If you are served twice that much, save half for later.

Take your time. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize your stomach is full. Eat slowly, put your fork down in between bites and instead of reaching for seconds, wait 20 minutes to see if you are still hungry.

Get wet. Oftentimes, we confuse thirst with hunger. Make sure you are drinking at least 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Drink a full glass before meals so it takes less food to fill your stomach.

Just because the Southeast Area Farmers’ Market has closed for the season, keep on eating fresh fruits and veggies. While the grocery store variety may not compare to farmers’ market fare, choosing fresh produce rather than junk food snacks is always the healthier choice.