Health and the City is a monthly column that examines relevant community health issues, spotlights the local organizations whose work impacts the wellness of our community, and highlights fun, useful, and important health, nutrition, and active living opportunities. Health and the City appears every month and is brought to you by Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln (HealthyLincoln.org) and LNKTV Health (lincoln.ne.gov, keyword: LNKTV). Send questions or health, wellness, or fitness event information or stories to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let the battle begin
With Halloween this past week, the official beginning of our national fight against holiday weight gain and inactivity commences. Between the Halloween candy, Thanksgiving pumpkin pies, and the winter holiday events full of traditional food excess, what's a body to do?
It’s not just kids that face the sugar avalanche from Halloween.
If you, like most people, have bags and bowls of leftover candy, you will no doubt be tempted to snack on it for the next several days or weeks.
Or maybe you’ll take the excess to the office to get it out of the house. It’s likely your officemates will be doing the same thing - setting it out in public places where you’ll pass by it non-stop. Somebody’s got to eat it, right?
There’s probably no way to completely avoid the holiday sweet-a-thon, but you can fight back a little. You can save yourself, your kids, and your office-mates from the urge to over-indulge in leftover candy by checking around with the dentists in town. Some, like Nebraska Family Dentistry, will actually pay you by the pound for your excess.
Bring on the turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, dinner rolls, even macaroni and cheese. Top it off with pumpkin or sweet potato pie and whipped cream. Who can resist? Not many of us, but we can trick ourselves a little by right-sizing our dinner plates. Choosing a slightly smaller plate actually helps to limit portion size and save calories without making you feel deprived. Find great ideas on LNKTV Health’s Shape of the City In the Kitchen or their Holiday Eating series - short videos that are long on practical ideas.
If you’re looking for a different twist on your Thanksgiving traditions, consider the Turkey Trot, a fun run for kids and adults sponsored by the Lincoln YMCA on Thanksgiving Day.
The Couch Holidays
Be it Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, New Year’s, or Super Bowl Sunday, holiday eating and couch surfing go hand-in-hand.
With stomachs stretched to the limit, we head for the sofa and the remote.
Fight back by swapping out one high calorie side dish with some mixed greens. Add interest, texture, and the yum factor by adding walnuts and mandarin oranges.
Getting rid of excess Halloween candy, right-sizing our plates, and swapping out a high calorie side for some tasty greens can save hundreds of holiday calories, but getting active is the best defense.
When it’s cold outside and our stomachs are full, it’s hard not to fall into hibernation mode. But you can fight back by planning some fun and active games at holiday get-togethers that get people up and moving. Dressing properly in layers will also help you enjoy active outdoor fun. Find a great source of ideas at LNKTV Health’s “Get Up and Go” series featuring fun and eclectic activities the whole family can enjoy. Be sure to also check out the tips on dressing right for outdoor cold weather fun.
Speaking of families, if you’ve got kids in one of Lincoln’s public schools, you may have seen or taken part in a quarterly LPS Wellness Challenge.
Research has shown that kids learn better when they are fit, have proper nutrition, get adequate sleep, and deal with stresses in a positive way.
Each quarter focuses on a different health theme and includes creative, fun, and even wacky opportunities for kids, their families and friends, and LPS staff to get more active, as well as promote good nutrition and healthy habits. LPS District Wellness Facilitator, Michelle Welch, a registered dietitian, makes it fun by tapping into current culture.
The LPS Wellness program has contributed to a measurable move towards healthier weights and an increase in the fitness levels of LPS kids. Participating along with your kids in each of the wellness challenges, especially during the hibernation months, is a great way to fight back against holiday weight gain and inactivity. You can find lots of useful tips from Michelle at LNKTV Health.
To find all these short, fun, and useful LNKTV Health videos, go to their YouTube Channel by clicking on the link at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: LNKTV).
At their site, you’ll also find where to view their TV programming from your provider and a comprehensive health, wellness and fitness event calendar.