NEW CITY, NY, – Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage residents to follow these tips for a healthier holiday season:
- Get your COVID-19 shot! Keep yourself and your family members safe. If you haven’t already gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, are eligible for an additional (third) immunocompromised dose, or a booster dose, get one today! For vaccine providers in your area, visit the RCDOH at http://rcklnd.us/covid19, the New York State Am I Eligible webpage, or Vaccines.gov.
- Get your flu shot! Getting the flu vaccine is the main way to prevent the flu and its complications. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Flu season usually peaks in January or February and can last until May. Getting your flu shot offers protection through the holidays and for the rest of the flu season. You can receive your flu shot at any of our scheduled COVID-19 vaccine clinics. The flu vaccine may be taken at the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. To make a flu vaccine appointment visit http://rcklnd.us/flu or contact your doctor or local pharmacy.
- Wash your hands often; Stay home if you are sick! The COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot are the best way to keep from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. 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! Give yourself a present of physical activity. Take a 10 to 15-minute walk to keep active and help to reduce holiday stress. Keep a fleece 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.
- The holiday season can be hectic – have regular meals: breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner. Children and adults need balanced meals during the day, even when you’re on the go.
- Drink water; it’s the best thirst quencher. Have a pitcher of water readily available to help avoid 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.
- Sleep tight: Loss of sleep, which can happen any time of the year; however, common during the holidays, may cause weight gain. Sleeping less than usual may increase your hunger hormone levels, ultimately leading to higher calorie intake. Sweet dreams!
- Eating out? Check the menu ahead of time: Check the menu ahead of time: know the available healthier choices before you get to the restaurant.
- When eating out, stick to healthier choices. Try to be the first to order – you’ll set a good example!
- Thinking about skipping a meal to splurge at the 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.
- BYOD – Bring Your Own Dish to the party! Bringing a healthier choice will ensure there is at least one dish that you won’t have to resist!
- Check the CDC’s Food Safety Tips for the Holidays http://bit.ly/CDCHolidayFoodSafety – ’tis the season to be jolly…and free of foodborne illness!
“Start a healthy trend! There are many ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health. Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is for those ages 5 and older to get vaccinated for COVID-19. All these healthy tips are good to follow not only during the holiday season but year-round as well,” said Dr. Ruppert.
For more information on safer ways to celebrate the holidays, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/celebrations.html and https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/index.html. For more information on healthy eating, visit http://bit.ly/AHAHolidayHealthyEating for the Holiday Healthy Eating Guide from the American Heart Association.