Holiday Help

By Charlyn Fargo

November 15, 2019 4 min read

Oh, the holidays. For many trying to maintain weight — and not gain the dreaded 5 pounds over the winter season — holiday festivities can be stressful. Celebrating the holidays while eating healthy can seem like an impossibility.

What's the best strategy?

Don't jump off the cliff if you feel you've overindulged. Just get back on track the next morning.

Have a plan for handling all the excess food and goodies over the holidays. Decide what foods you want the most, bring a low-calorie dish to a family dinner, and have a healthy snack before the big holiday meal to keep hunger under control.

Keep portion control in mind. You can have a small piece of that pumpkin pie if that's what you really want; just don't eat that and a piece of pecan pie. Decide which one you really want, and be satisfied.

Don't nibble. You'd be surprised how quickly the calories add up when having hors d'oeuvres or nibbling on small bites while preparing food. Like the chips at a Mexican restaurant, you can eat your allotment of calories for a meal before the meal even comes.

Keep to your exercise regime. Not only does it help burn a few calories but it also keeps your mood high and helps you cope with holiday stress.

Q and A

Q: Are energy drinks OK to drink?

A: A number of studies have shown that caffeinated energy drinks can raise blood pressure. A new study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, finds that those with an elevated cardiovascular risk should be even more careful as the drinks could increase the risk for arrhythmias. Energy drinks have been linked in recent years with more than three dozen deaths and hundreds of other adverse events, including seizures and cardiac arrests, according to the University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. Pregnant women, children, teenagers and people who are sensitive to caffeine should especially avoid them.


If you're thinking of adding a new side dish to your Thanksgiving menu, why not try Brussels sprouts? We all know the traditional foods have to be present (turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, etc.), but there may be room for a new side dish, especially if it's a healthy vegetable. Try these Romano-topped Brussels sprouts, from Cooking Light.


3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise

Cooking spray

1 ounce pecorino Romano cheese, shaved (about 1/3 cup)

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine olive oil, salt, black pepper and Brussels sprouts in a medium bowl; toss well to coat. Divide Brussels sprouts mixture evenly between 2 small roasting pans or jellyroll pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are browned and crisp-tender, rotating pans after 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts evenly with cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 8 (serving size: 1 cup Brussels sprouts and about 2 teaspoons cheese).

Per serving: 122 calories; 5.5 grams protein; 12.7 grams carbohydrates; 6.8 grams fat; 3 milligrams cholesterol; 5.4 grams fiber; 215 milligrams sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee in Springfield, Illinois, and the media representative for the Illinois Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: Daria-Yakovleva at Pixabay

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