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CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (Nov. 5, 2019) – For many, the holiday season can be a time that is filled with indulgence and inactivity.

Registered Dietitian Brittany Baird

Experts with WellSpan Weight Management and WellSpan Results Fitness offer several tips to help offset a holiday-season filled with decadent treats and sluggishness.

Registered Dietitian Brittany Baird with WellSpan Weight Management said she notices some of the same complaints year after year. This is especially true of complaints surrounding the premise of celebrating with food.

“This can be a big challenge for someone trying to lose weight or that has special dietary needs,” she explained.

Baird listed those with diabetes, congestive heart failure or chronic kidney disease as just a sampling of the people who may find it more difficult to navigate the holiday festivities.

“The food being served may not be in line with our dietary needs and the portions being served by another’s hand are oftentimes excessive,” said Baird. “Sitting around a table with food served family-style also is a huge temptation for many – and makes getting second helpings more accessible.”

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She suggests bringing fresh fruits or vegetables with low-calorie dips to a meal. It helps nutritionally and provides the host with additional healthy foods for the crowd.

Baird’s Other Tips

“Never go to a party hungry,” she said. “Try to have a small snack prior to the party that contains a balance of fat, fiber, carbohydrates and protein.”

Suggestions include:

  • Small protein bar
  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Reduced-fat cheese and whole wheat crackers
  • Greek yogurt and fresh fruit

Baird said limiting liquid calories and passing on seconds also will help keep nutrition and calories in check.

“Use smaller plates, bowls and glasses, if available,” she said. “If you’re looking to take it a step further, try building a healthy plate, start by making half your plate fruits and vegetables. Then, add lean proteins, low-fat dairy and whole grains.”

Staying Active

Nicole Mallory, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and special programs coordinator at WellSpan Results Fitness, said she sees a lot of people get off track when the weather gets colder and days get shorter.

“It’s not as easy to get outside and be active,” she said.

While it may be difficult to find motivation, it’s important to fit physical activity into the holiday season, Mallory said. It helps maintain a healthy body weight, burn extra calories and boost mood.

She said staying active during the holiday season can provide a jumpstart on goals in the new year. She said making physical activity a priority doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

“When pressed for time, decide on a time commitment you’re willing to give, set a timer and do it,” she suggested. “Increments of activity as small as five to 10 minutes are better than nothing.”

Mallory provided three tips as people head into a holiday season filled with excess calories and a winter indoors.

  • Move around – especially after big meals or long days of traveling.
  • If you work a sedentary job, stand at your desk instead of sitting.
  • Make it a goal to get outside for a walk – even in the cold.

WellSpan Summit Health will offer a free workshop to provide community members with tools to help stick with healthy habits this holiday season.

Led by Baird and Mallory, workshops will be offered in Chambersburg and Waynesboro. The focus is on three concepts: how to stay moving, choosing healthy foods and managing stress.

Be Merry & Live Well Holiday Wellness Workshops

Thursday, Nov. 7
5-6 p.m.
WellSpan Health Campus, Building 2
Second Floor Conference Room
12 St. Paul Drive

Thursday, Nov. 14
5-6 p.m.
WellSpan Waynesboro Hospital
501 E. Main St.

For more details or to register, visit:

WellSpan Summit Health is a non-profit network of hospitals and physician practices dedicated to building a healthier community.

As Franklin County’s leading healthcare provider, WellSpan Summit Health offers family care, specialists, lab and imaging services, a fitness center, urgent care centers, and two award-winning hospitals.

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