Special to the E-T

Ah, the holidays! That joyous time of the year when the weather is cold and our hearts are warm as we celebrate the season with friends and loved ones. Tradition sharing and party-going are in full swing. One of the first things that come to mind when we think of the holidays is food. It seems like everywhere you go there is a tray of cookies, a tall glass of eggnog or someone’s favorite family recipe to be tasted. It’s no wonder that many people put on extra weight this time of year. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, people gain an average of about one pound during the time between Halloween and Valentine’s Day. While one pound doesn’t seem like much, the study also showed that most of this extra weight is kept so it accumulates over time. This is thought to be a major contributor to adult obesity. Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control over 60% of Americans are overweight or obese? That’s well over half of our population! Obesity contributes to other diseases such as heart disease and diabetes—two of the major killer diseases today. The good news is that obesity is preventable! So this holiday season, with a little planning and moderation you can avoid adding inches to your waistline. Here are a few tips that will have you singing holiday songs with even more joy in your heart:

• At dinner get small portions—think “appetizer size.” You can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry later

• Eat slowly. Give your body time to sense that you are full to prevent feeling like a stuffed turkey after you eat

• At a party, serve yourself snacks on a smaller sized dessert plate and resist the urge to pile high

• Try sticking mostly to fresh fruits and veggies and lean meats

• Go easy on sugary desserts

• Be careful with sauces and dips

• For a potluck event, bring a low-calorie contribution and try to fill up on that

• Don’t show up hungry. Eat something before going so you can enjoy “nibbles” of the good stuff

• Start a new family tradition. Before or after a big dinner get everyone to go for a walk. This is a fun activity that children and adults can enjoy together—plus, hot cider is even more enjoyable after a brisk walk in the cool weather.

WIC provides nutritious foods and nutrition counseling to pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and infants and children up to age five as well as breastfeeding assistance to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Call your local WIC clinic at 254-968-3640 or come by 125 W. Oak Street in Stephenville to find out if you qualify.