Holiday Season

Nov 25, 2013 10:24 AM by PRESS RELEASE

Healthy Living Club offers healthy holiday tips

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, partners in Lafayette's Healthy Living Club are serving up some ideas to help local families have a healthier holiday season.

"Thanksgiving is a wonderful, family-oriented time of the year, but it can often come with larger amounts of calories than we usually get in our diets," said Dr. Joan Landry with the Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. "By keeping a few easy tips in mind, we can enjoy the day just as much while still staying healthy."

Dr. Lionel Lyles with HLC's Seed to Table program prepares his own healthy Thanksgiving meal every year. Baked turkeys are much healthier than fried ones, Lyles says, and he stuffs his turkey with garlic - fresh, not minced - and jalapeno peppers.

Lyles also recommends using fresh sweet potatoes to make a delicious yam dish. "I slice sweet potatoes, circular or horizontal, and boil them in water," Lyles said. "Once the water has been boiled down to below the level of the sweet potatoes in your pot, add whole brown sugar and just a small amount of natural butter."

For other sides, Lyles recommends finding as many homegrown varieties of vegetables as possible. Broccoli, cauliflower, beets, collard greens and mustard greens are all good choices and are plentiful during the holiday season.

Laura Broussard, regional director for the American Heart Association, points out that portion size and how you eat can be as important as what you eat.

"The American Heart Association recommends that you ‘go light' on portion size during the Thanksgiving meal," Broussard said. "A serving size of turkey is about three ounces - about the size of a deck of cards, something to keep in mind when you're thinking about seconds. You can also ‘outsmart the bird' by choosing the lighter meat, which has fewer calories and less fat, and by taking the skin off."

Careful portioning of items like dressing and desserts helps, too. And take it easy on the gravy, which can contain excess fat, calories and sodium.

However, it is not just what you eat on Thanksgiving Day. According to Landry, it is important to stay active ... and hydrated.

"Consider serving water with the meal instead of soft drinks," Landry said. "And what you do after you eat is important too. Instead of sitting on the couch during halftime, head to the back yard with your kids or grandkids and throw the football around. Or if it's too cold, put on some music and have a family dance-off right in your living room."

For healthy living and eating tips year-around, please visit HLC's website at www.thehealthylivingclub.org. Another great resource for healthy living is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana's Louisiana2Step.com.

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