Healthy holiday options from Campus Recreation

Assistant Director of Fitness and Health, Janet Karoencke, right, speaks with Nutrition Education Coordinator, Justine Kraduck, from McKinley Health Center about recipes she presented during Lunch and Learn: Healthy Eating Even During the Holidays at CR Adam Babcock

Assistant Director of Fitness and Health, Janet Karoencke, right, speaks with Nutrition Education Coordinator, Justine Kraduck, from McKinley Health Center about recipes she presented during “Lunch and Learn: Healthy Eating Even During the Holidays” at CR Adam Babcock

By Erica Magda

Campus Recreation and McKinley Health Center teamed up Wednesday to offer healthy alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving food.

“There’s so much (food), and you feel like you need to taste everything,” said Sorina Rentea, freshman in LAS. “I always eat dessert even if (I’m) so full,” she said.

Overeating is a common issue with holiday meals, said Justine Karduck, a licensed dietitian, nutritionist and the Nutrition Education coordinator for McKinley Health Center, at a Campus Recreation event called “Lunch and Learn: Healthy Eating Even During the Holidays.”

She presented a PowerPoint presentation outlining the do’s and don’t’s of holiday nutrition at Campus Recreation Center East Wednesday from 12-1 p.m. at this first-time event.

Karduck said people shouldn’t feel compelled to eat from every dish, but choose only a few.

“The quantity of food is bad, not the quality” Rentea said.

Nevertheless, Rentea feels obligated to try everything. If she doesn’t eat something, her family “would think it (was) disrespectful.”

“Don’t eat just to be polite,” Karduck said. “Say, ‘No, thank you. I’m trying to watch my diet.'”

Although Karduck said people should not go on diets over break, there are some simple things she suggested to keep extra pounds off.

One tip was to “chew on mint or gum throughout the party to avoid constant grazing.”

Snacking is another way to keep from overeating. People can eat “fruit, yogurt, crackers … (or other) high-protein and fiber foods, especially before having a large meal,” Karduck said. This will keep you from overeating when the main course comes. Similarly, she said not to fill up on appetizers.

“I’m going to try crackers and peanut butter (as a snack),” said Linda Barenthin, administrative secretary for Nutritional Studies. She and other guests at the presentation had a chance to sample some of low-fat recipes that are easy for students to make, Karduck said.

Her favorite is No-Fuss Peanut Butter Bites. She said skipping out on treats like these during the holidays is “a recipe for disaster (because) you’ll eat more in the end.”

For some students, restricting themselves from goodies over the holidays is unheard of. Rentea said the entire event is an indulgence.

“I look forward to the Thanksgiving binge,” Rentea said.

Brian Thoman, freshman in ACES, said holiday food has high concentrations of fat and carbohydrates. However, since Thanksgiving comes but once a year, Thoman considers the holiday his own personal treat.

“Thanksgiving is my one excuse to eat all I want,” he said.

Karduck understands the importance of the holiday season.

“Holiday dinners are meant to be special and extraordinary,” she said. “Overeating one day won’t make you gain weight. But don’t make it a entire season of unhealthy choices.”

This can easily happen if you encounter a lot of pressure over break. Karduck said the availability of food combined with any “holiday stress” could induce spontaneous eating. Karduck said when you want to eat something, count to 30 to find out if you truly are hungry.

This way people “won’t use food as a drug for stress,” she said.