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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 9 a.m.

'Tis the holiday season - tips to give the gift of health to yourself and others

By Washtenaw County Public Health

The holidays are a time to celebrate, give thanks and reflect. They are also a time to pay special attention to your health. Have you thought about giving the gift of health and safety to yourself and others by following these holiday tips?

Tip #1: Shop well for yourself

It is more important then ever to stock your kitchen with healthy foods. Have healthy snacks handy. The more convenient they are, the more likely you are to eat them. Instead of thinking about what you shouldn't eat, promise to eat your three to five servings of vegetables each day.

Tips #2: Schedule your exercise

Your schedule will be very hectic this holiday season. Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment. It's ok if you can't make it to class, but make sure that you get some activity in at least three days per week.

Tips #3: Offset a high calorie day with lower ones around it

You probably aren't aware how much extra food you consume just from people offering it to you. A sample at the market here, an extra cookie at an office party there, and it all adds up. Just think twice before you take that food and decide if you really want it.

If you know that you are going to be at a party or function and chances are high that you will eat more than normal, then you want to take it easy on the day before and after. It is really that simple!

Tip #4: Skip the baking

Do you make baked goods for giving? Chances are you eat much of what you bake. Who wouldn't? Instead make non-food gifts, or prepare ingredients for baked goods and put them in pretty jars — let your gift recipient bake it up. That way, they can eat it when they want it, and you don't have to be tempted in the kitchen.

Tip #5: Hydrate

Keep your water bottle with you at all times. You should be drinking eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day. One handy trick is to buy a 64-ounce water jug. Fill it up in the morning and know that you need to finish it by the end of the day.


Safety tips for the holiday season

  • Keep matches, lighters and candles out of the reach of children
  • Be aware of food safety guidelines, to avoid accidental food poisoning during the festivities.
  • Place your tree a good distance away from any heat sources like fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child or can cause a fire if near flame.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially outside each bedroom.
  • To prevent both burns and electrical shocks, don't give young children (under age 10) a toy that must be plugged into an electrical outlet. Instead, buy toys that are battery-operated.
  • Remember that the homes you visit may not be childproofed. Keep an eye out for danger spots
Here's to happy, healthy, holiday season to one and all!