Healthy tips for a healthy holiday

Eat Healthy and Be Active

It can be challenging to eat healthy and stay active during the holidays. Healthy eating is all about balance and moderation. Holiday parties and big family meals may tempt us away from our healthy eating habits. Allow yourself to have your favorite foods, but stick to smaller servings and balance them with healthier options. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Limit fats, salt, and sugary foods and drinks.

Staying active can help you keep a healthy weight during the holiday season. Look for opportunities to work physical activities into your holiday: Go for a stroll after a family meal, take a walk at the mall, or dance to your favorite holiday music.  Aim to get at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity. For example, that could be at least 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes five days a week.  It’s important to move more and sit less.

Get your Flu Vaccination

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Influenza (flu) is more than a cold, or even a “bad cold.”  It can result in serious health complications like pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalization, or death.  Few people get vaccinated against flu after the end of November even though flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. If you didn’t yet get a flu vaccination this season, it’s not too late!  CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated now if they have not already been vaccinated this season.

Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and can prevent serious flu complications. The flu vaccine has other benefits, too, including being life saving for children, protecting pregnant women and their babies, and reducing the risk of heart attack in people with heart disease.

Food safety

Food poisoning can ruin even the most festive celebrations. Each year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.

Take simple steps to protect your family’s health when you prepare and serve holiday meals such as:

  • Wash your hands and work surfaces before, during, and after preparing food, and before eating.
  • Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separated during preparation.
  • Cook food at the right internal temperature to kill harmful germs. Use a food thermometer to check.
  • Refrigerate perishable foods, including leftovers, within two hours of buying or cooking.

Handwashing

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Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and to keep kids and adults healthy, especially during the winter months. Evidence shows handwashing can help prevent 1 in 5 respiratory illnesses like the cold or flu, so understanding how and when to wash hands is critical for staying healthy.

CDC’s newest handwashing campaign – “Life is Better with Clean Hands” – includes resources and educational materials to help spread the word about the importance of healthy hand hygiene. If soap and water are not available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

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