OPINION

Health and Wellness: Visions of sugar plums shouldn’t override healthy snacks

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief

Around here, children probably don’t have visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, but they certainly are surrounded by Christmas cookies, candy and other sweet treats. 

Make an effort this year to cut down on the full-on sugar feasts during the holidays. Patterns of overindulging in high-calorie, low-nutrition food and drink can set you up for headaches, upset stomachs and long-term effects such as obesity and diabetes. 

Before attending a party, have everyone eat a healthy snack such as cheese, a peanut butter sandwich or an apple, along with a glass of water. That way you won’t walk into the party feeling hungry. Coach your younger family members on how to be a good guest and also stay healthy: focus on the other guests instead of the food and take small “polite” portions. You may want to set some boundaries around how many helpings and how many glasses of punch or hot chocolate they may have. Adults should be aware of the high number of calories in holiday drinks. 

Encourage activity at parties — games, dancing, even going outside to play if that’s appropriate. Position yourself away from the buffet to avoid mindless eating, and stop when you are full.