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Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday
The holidays are a special time devoted to family, friends and, of course, food. Before visions of sugar plums, turkey, stuffing, triple cheese mashed potatoes, and pies of every flavor dance in your heads, take a moment and check out these helpful tips from Mary Bielawski, personal trainer and nutrition specialist at Edward Health & Fitness Centers:

  • Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like crisp vegetables or fresh fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.

  • While at the party, move your socializing away from the buffet or appetizer trays. This will minimize the unconscious nibbling.

  • Scan the selection of food, picking only the foods you have to have and remember to keep the portions small.

  • Follow the three bites rule. “Never deprive yourself of the food you want to eat, but take only three bites and savor each bite slowly,” said Mary. “Taste is one of our five senses and food should be enjoyed…in moderation.”

  • Resist the urge to go back for more by waiting at least 20 minutes for your brain to register that you are comfortably full.

  • If you choose to drink festive cocktails, follow each drink with a full glass of water. It will help keep you hydrated and feeling full.
  • Look for healthy substitutions to your favorite dishes. Using one egg instead of two or swapping skim for whole milk, will cut harmful calories, fat and cholesterol; your guests won’t even notice the subtle change.

  • Often people set themselves up for failure during the holiday season. According to Mary, now may not be the time to drop 20lbs but instead, people should focus more on maintaining their weight.

    “The holidays are a stressful time for many. I highly encourage people to find the time to work out…even if it’s only for 15 minutes,” said Mary. “Working out increases the endorphins in your body, which can make you feel happier and reduce stress.”

    “One of these most important things you can do is remembering to take time for yourself. We have a wonderful spa at the Edward Health and Fitness Center at Seven Bridges in Woodridge that has lots of stress relieving services. As you work on making the holidays special for others, don’t wear yourself down and make sure you are taking care of yourself too!”

    At your next holiday meal, try this easy, healthy recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser:


    2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
    1 16 oz jar picante sauce
    2 cups water
    1 15 oz can pinto or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
    1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 15 oz can garbanzo beans, rinse and drained
    3/4 cup uncooked brown rice
    I med onion chopped
    1 4 oz can diced green chilies, not drained
    2 TBS chili powder
    2 cloves garlic minced
    yogurt, cheese and/or pumpkin seeds to garnish

    Throw everything in Crockpot except the garnishes. Cook on high for 4 hours. Serve with your choice of garnish.


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    801 S. Washington, Naperville, IL 60540 • (630) 527-3000

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