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Amy Hendel: Happy Healthy Holidays

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Amy says there are endless holiday parties and family celebrations between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. 

“Typically you are eating high-fat, sugar-laden, salty treats and frankly portion control goes out the window,” says Amy. She says there are ways to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight. “Just remember that there is a social aspect to the holidays that we need to be enjoying, not just the food,” she says. It is important to make choices and be mindful of just how much you are eating. Amy says it is important to keep exercising, even if it’s for 10 or 15 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. “It can help offset some of those extra calories,” she says.

Amy has numerous tips for this season of celebrating. Try using smaller plates and using smaller serving utensils so portions are better controlled. “Your plate will appear full,” she says. Try switching out a high calorie treat or snack for fruits and vegetables. Most adults should get 10 servings each day so target eating 2 servings from the five main color groups: green, red, white, purple/blue, yellow/orange. Cut fat in cakes and muffins by using apple butter, apple sauce or puree over-ripe fruit. Before eating your meal, start with a salad or fruit salad. Choose olive oils or flavored vinegars in recipes. Fat-free mayo or fat-free sour cream also works to lower saturated fat. Use evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream when cooking. Drinks pile on extra calories so avoid the egg nog. Try water, flavored water or seltzer with a splash of juice or lemon. Instead of indulging in decadent sweets, try skewered fruit dipped in dark chocolate. Amy also recommends taking an organic, plant-based supplement, like Nutrilite Daily Vitamins and Nutrilite Concentrated Fruits and Vegetables.

Amy grew up in a home where food was worshipped. Raised in a Jewish home, Amy says almost all Jewish holidays they celebrated revolved around food. Her mother was not a particularly good cook and money was tight. So the family ate standards like meatloaf, tuna casserole or pizza. They often snacked on chips, cookies and candy. Amy says she noticed these comfort foods calmed her mother. As Amy got older, she also turned to food for comfort and craved sweets. By the time she was 16, Amy was 40 pounds overweight. At the time her only options to lose weight were starvation or she could eat a balanced diet. Amy and a diet buddy attended their first nutrition lecture to find out more about losing weight. Using what they learned, Amy dropped the 40 pounds by the time she was a junior and has kept it off ever since. “It hasn’t always been easy,” says Amy. “I have to pay attention to what I eat and exercise regularly to this day.” Amy adopted the healthy habits into her home because she was determined not to let her children deal with the same food struggles.