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Too much of a good thing

By Wade Rupard

Forum News Service

The holiday season can be difficult for everyone's waistlines.

But Alisha Namanny, the program manager at University of North Dakota’s Culinary Corner, said it doesn't have to be that way.

"It can be as simple as bringing a healthier dish to the Thanksgiving potluck or eating little portions," she said. "It doesn't have to be drastic."

Culinary Corner, a demonstration kitchen located on the first floor of the UND Wellness Center, offers classes to students, Wellness Center members, UND faculty and staff, and Grand Forks residents. The mission is to communicate evidence-based nutrition and cooking principles to the UND campus in a fun and applicable way.

Namanny said there are ways to make some of the holiday favorites--but healthier. For example, she suggests cooking mashed potatoes with 2 percent milk instead of heavy cream and using fresh green beans that are steamed for a green bean casserole.

Healthier versions of these recipes and more are available online, she said, and they can make a drastic difference if eaten all the time.

"If you do it only for one meal, it's probably not going to make much of a difference," she said. "But if you're doing this for every meal, you'll start to notice."

Portion control

With the holiday season right around the corner, it can be easy to have too many servings at your next get-together.

Namanny also said controlling portions during this time is one of the most important tips to staying healthy.

So many times, she said, people will go back for portions they don't need and end up eating way more than they should.

"You should ask yourself, 'Will I feel better or feel disgusting if I eat this?' " she said.

She encourages people to take smaller portions instead of filling up one's plate, and if the plate is full, limit it to just one serving.

"So often we think it's a holiday, so we can splurge, but that's not always the best for us," Namanny said.

She also recommended walking right after eating in order to get moving and to help the food properly digest.

"There are so many little things you can do that will make a big difference," she said.