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Some healthy eating tips for holidays

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By Ralph Damiani

The New Mexico Department of Health is reminding people that healthy eating and physical activity play a key role in preventing diabetes and its complications.This message is particularly important during the holiday season where the temptations are stronger than at any other time of the year.The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for people trying to maintain or lose weight through healthy eating and physical activity. Follow these tips from the American Diabetes Association to help you through the holidays:• Think about the timing of your meal. Plan in advance how you will handle making changes if your Thanksgiving dinner is at an “off” time to your regular meal schedule.If you take insulin or a pill that lowers blood glucose, you may need to have a snack at your regularly scheduled meal-time to prevent a low blood glucose reaction. Check with your health care team if you have any questions.• Be physically active! The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition that involves being physically active and away from the food.Ideas include taking a walk with the whole family or playing Frisbee, soccer, or touch football with your children, grandchildren, or the neighborhood kids.• Foods for nibbling. Have foods to nibble on while you are cooking or waiting that won’t sabotage blood glucose levels before you sit down to eat.Try setting out a platter of raw or blanched veggies with your favorite low-calorie dip.• Make choices. Don’t feel obligated to sample everything on the table. Whether it is the mashed potatoes, rolls, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie that you enjoy the most, pick your favorites and pass on the rest.For example, if stuffing is your favorite, pass on rolls. Choose either sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes.• Smaller portions. Because high carbohydrate foods are plentiful at most Thanksgiving tables, watch your portion sizes. If you can’t decide on one or two carbohydrate-containing favorites to eat, have very small portions or “samples” of several dishes.Overall, try to keep your total carbohydrate intake similar to your everyday meals.The campaign to have an official Thanksgivng holiday was largely the work of Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She wrote many editorials championing the cause.In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.Thanksgiving has been proclaimed by every president after Mr. Lincoln.In 1941, Thanksgiving was sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November.Enjoy your turkey dinner and get some exercise.