American Dietetic Association News Release - Holiday Eating

Wednesday, November 26, 1997, 12:01 a.m.


Nation's nutrition experts say be realistic and enjoy

CHICAGO -- Visions of sugar plums, grandma's candied yams and other goodies don't have to add up to extra pounds this holiday season.The nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals says favorite foods should be enjoyed as part of holiday celebrations,office parties and even shopping excursions.

"The party-pooper mentality of restriction and deprivation is not a lot of fun and can create unrealistic expectations," said American Dietetic Association (ADA) Spokesperson Felicia Busch, R.D.(registered dietitian), from St. Paul, Minn. "We can eat well and still enjoy our holiday favorites, even rich desserts. Healthful holiday eating is not anoxymoron - planning is the key."

In fact, ADA's 1997 Nutrition Trends Survey identified the fear of giving up tasty foods as Americans' biggest perceived obstacle to healthful eating.

Whether watching a football game on television, meeting friends at a party or shopping with your family, ADA offers these tips for eating well and enjoying foods this holiday season:

  1. Share the holiday spirit - and your food: Cut the calories and double your pleasure by sharing holiday treats with a friend on your next trip to the mall.
  2. Be adventurous -take your palate on a taste adventure: Why not try something new and add variety to your eating plan? Treat yourself to something new, ethnic or exotic, such as Thai pizza or a mango fruit smoothie.
  3. Eat breakfast or a snack before conquering the mall - Shopping on an empty stomach may make you go overboard at lunch or sooner.
  4. Add nutrition and taste to old standbys: Try peaches on pancakes, load veggies on pizza or top a baked potato with spicy salsa.
  5. Be active and keep moving!: Walk the aisles of the mall, go ice-skating with your family, plan a party that involves fitness, like bowling, skiing or hiking.
  6. Help the environment, help yourself: Oranges, apples, pears, carrots,celery and peppers are but a few of the hundreds of fruits and veggies that come in their own, biodegradable packaging. They travel welland require little or no preparation.
  7. Make some noise, add some crunch: Fill-up on fiber-rich foods,like crunchy cereal added to yogurt, whole grain breads, bran muffins or crispy pretzels.

"Plan ahead during the holidays and balance high-calorie and high-fat choices with low-calorie fruits and veggies." advised Busch."Enjoy holiday treats, but remember, people make holidays special too. Savor time with family and friends"

These and other tips can be found in the perfect holiday gift,The American Dietetic Association's Complete Food & Nutrition Guide ($29.95, Chronimed), which is packed with healthful eating tips and available at bookstores nationwide.

Throughout November and December, consumers can call ADA's National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics (NCND) Consumer Nutrition Hot Line toll-free at 800/366-1655 to listen to special recorded messages about healthful holiday eating or get referrals to registered dietitians in their area. For individualized answers to food and nutrition questions, consumers are encouraged to contact ADA's hotlineat 900/CALL-AN-RD (900/225-5267). Calls cost $1.95 for the first minute,and .95 for each additional minute. Both numbers operate weekdays from 9:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. (CT).

The nearly 70,000 member ADA is the nation's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Chicago-based group serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being.