NEW CITY, NY, – As Thanksgiving approaches, the Rockland County Department of Health encourages residents to follow these tips for a healthier holiday season:
- Protect Yourself from COVID-19, Flu, and RSV: The best way to reduce your risk is to get vaccinated. Check www.vaccines.gov to find out where to get COVID-19 and flu vaccines near you. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild cold-like symptoms but can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. Click here to learn more about the RSV vaccine or check with your healthcare provider.
- Wash your hands often; stay home if you are sick: Frequently washing your hands can help prevent sickness and the spread of germs. In addition, to help prevent the spread of germs, continue following the CDC’s public health prevention measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the flu, and other respiratory illnesses.
- Get moving: Make physical activity a priority. Take a 10 to 15-minute walk to keep active and help to reduce holiday stress. Keep a warm jacket and comfortable walking shoes in your car or at work; this will let you be spontaneous and fit a walk into your day. Ask your co-workers, family, and friends to join you on a walk.
- Drink water; it’s the best thirst quencher: Have a pitcher of water or a water bottle readily available to help you avoid drinking sugar-sweetened drinks and sodas that can pack on empty calories.
- Cut down on sweets: Keep healthier options such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds on hand as your go-to snacks rather than high-fat, sugary foods such as chips, cookies, or candy. Buy sliced, ready-to-eat fresh fruit and vegetables (or prepare them yourself). Keep healthy foods where you can see them in the refrigerator and pantry.
- Bake healthier: Replace ¼ cup of butter, oil, or margarine in your favorite cookie and muffin recipes with the same amount of unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana, pumpkin puree, or fig puree.
- Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep has many benefits, including lowering your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease, and being well-rested can help you avoid accidents and injuries. Check here for more information and recommended sleep time for people of different ages.
- Eating out? Check the menu ahead of time: Before you get to the restaurant, look at the menu to know what healthier choices are available.
- Stay free of foodborne illness: Check the CDC’s Food Safety Tips for the Holidays for more information.
“Thanksgiving is generally known as the start of the holiday season. Thinking about skipping a meal to splurge at your holiday party? Think again! It may make you overeat or choose high-calorie foods. Instead, plan to have a high-protein snack before the party – try a handful of sunflower seeds or pistachios with a cup of low-fat yogurt. Also, consider “BYOD” (Bring Your Own Dish) to the holiday party. Bringing a healthier choice will ensure at least one dish you won’t have to resist,” said Michelle Kleinman, Rockland County Public Health Nutritionist and Registered Dietician.
For more information on healthy holiday eating, visit https://bit.ly/usda-fivehealthyeatingtips.