Preparing for the holiday season makes the experience more enjoyable
November 28, 2019 – The holidays are a great opportunity to enjoy time with family and friends, to celebrate life, to be grateful, and to reflect on what’s important. They are also a time to appreciate – and safeguard – the gift of health.
“The holiday season is a time to reflect on family and friends, but don’t forget to take time to care for yourself,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “We wish you a healthy and happy New Year, and send along some reminders on how best to keep you and your family well this winter.”
Here are some holiday tips to support your efforts for health and safety during the season.
Eat Healthy and Be Active
It can be challenging to eat healthy and stay active during the holidays. Healthy eating is all about balance and moderation. Holiday parties and big family meals may tempt us away from our healthy eating habits. Allow yourself to have your favorite foods but stick to smaller servings and balance them with healthier options. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy. Limit fats, salt, and sugary foods and drinks.
Staying active can help you keep a healthy weight during the holiday season. Look for opportunities to work physical activities into your holiday: Go for a stroll after a family meal, take a walk at the mall, or dance to your favorite holiday music. Aim to get at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity. For example, that could be at least 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes five days a week. It’s important to move more and sit less.
Get Your Flu Vaccination
Influenza (flu) is more than a cold, or even a “bad cold.” It can result in serious health complications like pneumonia, bacterial infections, hospitalization, or death. Few people get vaccinated against flu after the end of November even though flu activity peaks between December and February and can last as late as May. If you didn’t yet get a flu vaccination this season, it’s not too late! CDC recommends that everyone age 6 months and older get vaccinated now if they have not already been vaccinated this season.
Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of getting sick with flu and can prevent serious flu complications. Flu vaccine has other benefits, too, including being life saving for children, protecting pregnant women and their babies, and reducing the risk of heart attack in people with heart disease.
Food poisoning can ruin even the most festive celebrations. Each year, an estimated 1 in 6 Americans get sick from eating contaminated food.
Take simple steps to protect your family’s health when you prepare and serve holiday meals such as:
- Wash your hands and work surfaces before, during, and after preparing food, and before eating.
- Keep raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs separated during preparation.
- Cook food at the right internal temperature to kill harmful germs. Use a food thermometer to check.
- Refrigerate perishable foods, including leftovers, within two hours of buying or cooking.