Sioux Falls, SD.  –  The holiday season is around the corner, and while that means fun get-togethers with family and friends, it also means hearty meals that can add up at the waistline. That’s why health professionals and the American Heart Association are celebrating Eat Smart Day today, as well as the kickoff for Eat Smart Month.

Studies show that half the weight gain from the holidays sticks around until summer. Teresa Vetter, a dietitian at Sanford Health in Bismarck, said North Dakotans can eat healthier by “going green” – adding more fruits and vegetables to meals.

“It gives us that feel of we’re able to eat more because those fruits and veggies are lower in calories, higher in fiber; they’re giving us good vitamins and minerals,” she said. “If we can add those into our meals as much as we can, it’s definitely going to go a long way.”

Vetter said portion control still is important. Eating breakfast can keep people feeling full longer and slow them down during big meals, she said, and adding herbs and spices such as garlic and pepper helps avoid the salt shaker and decrease sodium intake.

Vetter said it’s also important not to focus on the bad if you stray from a healthy meal every now and then.

“If we eat unhealthy all day, we can still change it around at supper time,” she said. “We don’t have to keep it going. Every time we eat is another chance to better our health.”

About two in three adults and one in three children are overweight or obese. Eat Smart Month is part of the AHA’s “Healthy for Good” movement, which focuses on eating smart, adding more color – such as vegetables – to meals, getting more exercise and making “being well” a priority.

Article by Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service

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