Tag Archives: nutrition

Festive snacking that's healthy but tasty

Festive Snacking That’s Healthy but Tasty

Festive Snacking That’s Healthy but Tasty

The holidays are officially upon us and that means people everywhere are breaking their diets in order to enjoy all of their favorite seasonal dishes, snacks and drinks. While it’s easy to pack on the pounds during the holidays, you can make some small healthy choices that will help you avoid that post holiday bulge. Instead of stuffing your face with cookies and pies this holiday season, try munching on these 5 festive snacking idea that are not only tasty, but healthy for you as well.


When you’re hit with a craving for something sweet, try snacking on some fresh seasonal fruits and berries such as cranberries, pomegranates, pears, currants or persimmons.


You may also want to keep a jar of nuts handy during the holidays to curb your hunger in between meals. A few holiday favorites include pecans, chestnuts, almonds and cashews. If you want to add a festive twist to your nuts, roast them or toss them in an herbal spice blend consisting of rosemary, thyme and olive oil.

Dark Chocolate

Believe it or not, pure chocolate is actually quite healthy for you as it provides the body with lots of antioxidants. Try to opt for the dark variations of chocolate and stay away from chocolate bars that contain added sugar.


When you cuddle up with your loved ones to watch those classic Christmas movies, try munching on a bowl of popcorn. Keep in mind that it’s best to stay away from popcorn loaded with butter and salt and instead choose one that is seasoned with sea salt and low in fat.


Certain types of cheese can be good for you when eaten in moderation and Parmesan, ricotta and aged cheddar are all excellent options. Just be sure to look for a label that identifies the product as “pasteurized process cheese”, which ensures the cheese is free of additives.

There’s no need to break your diet during the holidays! Simply choose to munch on these healthy snacks during the holiday parties, family gatherings and other festivities you will be attending.


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How to watch your weight during wedding season

food table at a reception filled with fruits and pastries

It’s that time of year again: wedding season. This can be a time of blissful happiness or a time that stretches the limits of self-restraint while trying to keep your health in check.

“It’s important to remember to limit yourself while attending a wedding,” says Dr. Gabriel Berendes, a Mayo Clinic Health System Family Medicine physician. “Most often, people become so caught up in the festivities, they forget to remember to take care of themselves.”

Most people have more than one wedding to attend during the year which can  add on pounds, if not watched closely.

“Overeating can lead to numerous health issues, such as emotional and physical damage to the body and mind,” adds Dr. Berendes. “This can be due to loss of confidence and increased weight, as well as causing damage to the digestive system.”

Dr. Berendes recommends these tips for watching your wedding season weight:

  • Participate in morning activity.
    Go for a run or walk, or a quick workout, or go golfing. These ideas, among others, can help clear the mind, as well as help you feel calm, centered and more in control of the choices you’ll make later in the day.
  • Don’t skip meals.
    Trying to save up calories will leave you feeling tired, angry and more likely to overconsume during cocktail hour.
  • Pace yourself.
    Choose the amount you want to drink. One drink per course (cocktail hour, dinner and reception) is a good rule of thumb. If that’s not sensible to you, limit yourself to one drink per hour, alternating water with alcohol. This advice is for of-age wedding guests who plan to stay put. Never to drink and drive.
  • Choose wisely.
    There’s no law saying you can’t have one of everything, although it’s good to limit yourself to a few options. Determine what you want to make room for. Try sticking to one plate, filling half with vegetables and the rest with protein and starchy vegetables, such as beans and potatoes.”
  • Dance.
    Hitting the dance floor can help you lose 200 to 300 calories per half hour. This gives you an extra excuse to show off your dance moves — good or bad — and burn off the calories you’ve consumed during the day.

Mayo Clinic Minute: Revamping your plate to reduce processed meats

processed meat on a grill and on a plate, hot dog sausage and bacon

A diet high in processed meat isn’t good for you.

“The evidence consistently shows an increased intake of red meat, especially processed red meat, is associated with a risk for health problems,” says Dr. Heather Fields, community internal medicine specialist at Mayo Clinic and lead author of Is Meat Killing Us? This article appears in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Watch: Dr. Fields discusses the processed meats review.

Processed meats such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, ham, deli meats, canned meats and jerky can be high in saturated fat, sodium, and nitrates or nitrites.  Dr. Fields says regularly consuming these meats can increase your risk for heart disease, cancer and even death.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Fields offers ideas for replacing processed meats in your summer diet. Jeff Olsen reports.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (1:00) is in the downloads. Read the script.

Home Remedies: Avoiding traveler’s diarrhea

traveling materials with a map, glasses and a passportDon’t drink the water. That’s the advice you may have heard for avoiding traveler’s diarrhea. While it’s a good start, the devil is in the details.

“There are more nuances to it than just avoiding drinking the water,” says Dr. Cindy Kermott, a Mayo Clinic preventive medicine physician. “Foods and drinks that come in contact with water can put you at risk too.”

Watch: Dr. Cindy Kermott offers important tips for avoiding traveler’s diarrhea.

One traveler’s diarrhea culprit could be ice cubes in your drink. Dr. Kermott says ice cubes can carry the bug that creates pain in your belly and a cramp in your vacation.

“People don’t think about the water that’s in those ice cubes,” she says.

Dr. Kermott says another common way people develop traveler’s diarrhea is by eating raw, sliced fruits.

“Those fruits are washed in water. You can’t have those. You can have fresh fruits, but you have to peel it yourself,” she says.

In addition to the fruits you peel, Dr. Kermott suggests eating only well-cooked meals and drinking bottled water. Avoid salads and raw, cut vegetables. If you must use tap water, boil it first.

Read more about preventing traveler’s diarrhea.

If you do get traveler’s diarrhea, avoid caffeine and dairy products, which may worsen symptoms or increase fluid loss. But keep drinking fluids.

Traveler’s diarrhea usually resolves itself without treatment. However, it’s a good idea to have doctor-approved medications with you when you travel to high-risk areas, in case diarrhea persists.

This article is part of the Home Remedies series on the Mayo Clinic News Network.

Mayo Clinic Minute: 4 keys to healthful snacking

Eating the right snacks at the right time could be the key to better managing your weight. Margaret Brown, a registered dietitian with Mayo Clinic, offers four keys to healthful snacking.

In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Brown explains the factors that can make it easier to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, including:

  • Knowing when and when not to eat
  • How long to go between meals and snacks
  • What kinds of snacks to eat
  • How much water to drink

Ian Roth reports.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.