Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Healthy plans for the festive season

Published:Wednesday | December 10, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Marsha N. Woolery, Health Contributor

Do you remember your 2014 New Year's resolution? Let me remind you: to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Christmas is a couple weeks away - the party invitations, all that food, the anticipated big spending - just thinking about it can increase your stress level.

What plans do you have to conquer the following common problems that occur this time of the year?

  1. Eating too much or too often
  2. Weight gain
  3. High blood sugar
  4. High blood pressure
  5. Not enough exercise or physical activity

Here are some tips to enjoy the festive season in a healthier way:

  1. Plan your holiday menu from now. It is not too early to do so.
  2. Choose healthier dishes - adjust your favourite recipes to make them lower in fat, sugar and salt/sodium. Start experimenting from now and share ideas with a friend.
  3. Prepare your shopping list and start shopping from now before the prices increase. Buy in bulk, even if you have to do so with a friend to get better prices. Check your cupboard to see what you already have to spend less money.
  4. Plan to serve more fruits and vegetables at all meals to get more fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to rid the body of harmful substances that will cause cancer, heart disease and ill health.
  5. Plan to buy fewer food items in an effort to serve less food or smaller amounts. Most times we serve too much food anyway, causing some persons to eat too much or cause more food to end up in the garbage bin.
  6. Use less sugar and fat (margarine, butter, cream or oil) in the preparation of cakes or puddings. Do your research!
  7. Use grease or wax paper to line cake tins instead of using oil, butter or margarine. This will also prevent burning of the dessert - a fear for those of us who bake.
  8. Cut cake, puddings, pies and all desserts into smaller pieces.
  9. Use less sugar, rum and or wine in sorrel or other drinks. Plan to offer flavoured water instead of soda or mixed drinks.
  10. Use more natural seasonings such as onions, thyme, scallion and garlic instead of powdered seasonings. Buy these items before they get more expensive closer to Christmas Day when the demand will be greater.
  11. Season meats, chicken, goat meat, pork, tofu and allow to marinate in refrigerator in advance for added flavour so less fat will be added during the cooking process.
  12. Blend sorrel instead of steeping for better flavour, less waste and to get the substances that will help to keep us healthier.
  13. Continue your exercise routine or start exercising today.

Take control of what goes into your mouth this Christmas. PLAN AHEAD ... your health is your biggest investment.

Marsha N. Woolery, RD, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Fairview Medical and Dental Center, Montego Bay and adjunct lecturer at Northern Caribbean University; email: