The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health–Public Health–offers these useful tips for keeping in good health and positive spirits during this holiday season. These tips provide simple yet powerful actions people can do to help make the holiday season healthier and more enjoyable.
“Let this holiday season be joyful and as stress-free as possible,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “The holidays bring parties, luncheons and social gatherings. Let’s be mindful and enjoy once-a-year holiday foods, but in smaller portions. Try incorporating small changes in your day to increase your opportunities to move more, eat healthier, and find ways to reduce stress for you and your family.”
Healthy Holiday Tips:
Enjoy those once-a-year holiday treats – just eat less of them. It’s possible to indulge without packing on the holiday pounds. Enjoy holiday food traditions in smaller portions. Choose less, weigh less.
Get moving – and not just at the gym. Park your car farther away from the store or shopping mall entrance. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Burn calories by turning your holiday cleaning into a workout.
Decorate safely. Holidays are the time to bring out the tinsel and lights, but accidents can happen when decorations go awry. Use flame-resistant or non-combustible materials to trim a tree. When you leave your home or go to bed, be sure to turn off or unplug lights and decorations indoors and outdoors.
Manage stress. The holidays don’t need to take a toll on your health. Be mindful about over-committing and over-spending. Balance work, home and holiday parties. Set realistic expectations for yourself and your family. Try to get enough sleep each night to stay well rested, refreshed and ready to go.
Wash your hands. Germs can survive on door handles, railings and other surfaces you touch with your hands. Wash with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds (hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice), or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals can cause you to over-eat and consume more calories than if you had small meals throughout the day. Start your day with a healthy breakfast – a key to long-term weight loss. Pack nuts, fruit and veggies to munch on before holiday gatherings to avoid over-eating.
Avoid foodborne illness by washing fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly, separating raw meat and poultry from other food, and using separate cutting boards, knives, and platters to prepare meats. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. When in doubt, throw it out.
Drink up – water, that is. Did you know that there are 22 packets of sugar in a regular 20-ounce soda? You wouldn’t eat that many packs of sugar, so why would you drink them? Try fruit and herb-infused ‘spa’ water, sparkling water, or unsweetened tea for a satisfying thirst quencher that won’t pour on the pounds.
Quit Tobacco. Don’t let holiday stress trigger your cigarette cravings. Instead, brush your teeth, drink water, take deep breaths, chew sugar-free gum, or go for a walk. Call the California Smokers’ Helpline at 1-800-NO- BUTTS (1-800-662-8887) to talk to a supportive counselor who can offer free help and a plan to quit for good.
About Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about the Department of Public Health and the work we do, please visit PublicHealth.LACounty.gov.