Staying Healthy During The Holiday Season

The holiday season is usually filled with numerous occasions to indulge in a lavish array of delicious appetizer spreads and homecooked meals while spending time with family and friends. However, this year, the uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is going to have a strong impact on how all of us will be celebrating. In this article we are going to discuss some of the steps you can take to enjoy the holidays while keeping you and your loved ones healthy and safe.

Tips on Safely Hosting a Small Holiday Gathering

  • Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for themselves and for members of their own household only
  • Wear a mask while preparing food for or serving food to others who don’t live in your household
  • All attendees should have a plan for where to store their mask while eating and drinking. Keep it in a dry, breathable bag (like a paper or mesh fabric bag) to keep it clean between uses
  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible
  • Have one person who is wearing a mask serve all the food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils
  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments
  • Make sure everyone washes their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after preparing, serving, and eating food and after taking trash out. Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available
  • Designate a space for guests to wash hands after handling or eating food
  • Limit crowding in areas where food is served by having one person dispense food individually to plates, always keeping a minimum of a 6-foot distance from the person whom they are serving. Avoid crowded buffet and drink stations
  • Change and launder linen items (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins) immediately following the event
  • Offer no-touch trash cans for guests to easily throw away food items
  • Wash dishes in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water immediately following the gathering

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

serving a holiday meal
healthy holiday meal with vegetables and ham

Eating Smart During the Holidays

Meals are often the focal point of all types of holiday gatherings. And it can be difficult not to eat more than your fair share of your favorite holiday foods. But with a little discipline and planning, you can still enjoy holiday feasts without putting on unwanted holiday pounds. According to a recent study, the average American only gained approximately one pound over the course of the months including Thanksgiving and Christmas; so, there is little need to worry about significant weight gain, especially if you exercise regularly.

On the day of a planned holiday feast, it is important not to skip meals beforehand. While skipping meals may seem like a viable tactic, it can actually interfere with your metabolism and increase the likelihood of overeating during the holiday meal. Did you know that it takes 15 to 20 minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is full? This is why eating slowly can effectively help you to eat less, making it easier for you not to overindulge. Also, starting the meal with vegetables can further curb your appetite for the carb-heavy foods at the table.

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