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15+ Ways To Have A Healthier Halloween

You don’t need a doctor to tell you that Halloween can be a time of sugary sweets overload. If you’re trying to teach your family about eating healthy, what do you do? Together, we can help kids learn to enjoy the holidays without overindulging.

One way is to not hand out high-calorie candy at your home. Instead, promote healthier choices by offering less sugary treats. It’s also a great way to be more inclusive of children who may have diabetes or other dietary restrictions.

Here are some great alternatives to try – that are cool enough for even the most discerning trick-or-treaters.

• Stickers – because what little one doesn’t love stickers?
• Sugarless chewing gum: Dentists will love you because they recommend it to help fight tooth decay.
• 100-calorie packs of snack products
• Snack-size boxes of raisins, trail mix or dried fruit
• 100% juice boxes
• Sugar-free hot chocolate packets
• Single-serve packets of popcorn
• Mini-boxes of pretzels, Goldfish crackers or crackers with cheese
• Cereal bars
• Gummy candy made with real fruit
• Temporary tattoos.
• Plastic jewelry: There’s glam, grown-up looking jewelry, Halloween themed, and even bubble rings for blowing bubbles.
• More Halloween-themed accessories: Glow sticks, glow-in-the-dark trinkets, eye patches, key chains and more.
• Pocket-sized toys and games. Consider miniature playthings such as yo-yos, bubble blowers, card games, finger puppets and more.
• Wendy’s Jr. Frosty coupons. Proceeds benefit the Dave Thomas Foundation, whose goal is to increase adoption of children in the foster care system. This is a good treat in moderation, under 200 calories with calcium and protein.

From all of us at YourTown Health, be safe and have a happy, healthy Halloween!

With multiple locations, you’re sure to find a clinic close to you. Visit to see. The physicians at YourTown Health strive to offer children and young adults world-class care with highly qualified physicians. For more information or to schedule an appointment click here.

Healthy Goals You Can Reach

Every January millions of people commit to new year’s resolutions, but by now 80% of these goals have failed. A new year is a great time to dedicate yourself to a healthier lifestyle, however, unrealistic goals can become discouraging and difficult to attain.

Instead of shooting for the moon, try these smaller goals that can still have a large effect on your lifestyle:

Start Every Day with Breakfast:

Because the time between dinner and the next morning’s meal is the longest, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  Eating within the first two hours of your morning can make a big difference in the way you metabolize glucose. Balancing your blood sugar for the day, allows your body and brain to work their best.

Get a Good Night’s Rest:

Sleep is essential to our health. It not only improves our memory and concentration, but it can also curb inflammation linked to heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and premature aging.  Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can have a positive impact on your health.  

Drink More Water

Drinking water is a necessity for our bodies, and nearly all of our systems do not function as well without proper water intake. Keeping your body hydrated can decrease joint pain, prevent headaches, flush out waste and bacteria and more. But keep in mind, if you’re feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So don’t depend on thirst to remind you to drink more water.

Get More Vitamin D AKA: Sunshine

Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” has several important functions.  Our bodies produce vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. If our bodies don’t get enough vitamin D, we can develop osteoporosis (fragile bones). Not only does the lack of vitamin D affect our bones, it can also increase our immune system and reduce depression. If you’re inside the majority of the day, step outside for 15 minutes and soak up some natural light. But don’t forget your sunscreen!

Start Performing Self-exams  

A woman living in the U.S. has a 1-in-8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The best protection is early detection, so performing a self-exam monthly can increase your chance of detecting cancer early. The next time you come in, ask us to show you how to examine yourself, then mark your calendar so you won’t forget to examine yourself each month.

Top 10 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

It’s so easy to overdo it this time of year. Your co-workers are taking turns tempting you with sweet treats at the office. Then, when you get home, there’s an endless assortment of cookies, pies and baked goods available, thanks to well-meaning neighbors, family and friends. Just add in a couple of rich meals with the family plus those annual parties and the healthy routine you worked so hard at building is out the window. 

Let’s face it: we celebrate the holidays with lots of food. But you don’t have to be a scrooge, deprive yourself and avoid everyone. It is possible to have fun, enjoy some of your holiday favorites and stay healthy, too. 

Here are a few ideas to help you balance everything and stay mindful about holiday eating:

  • No guilt. Feeling guilty after indulging in food can lead to a spiral effect of unhealthy behaviors. Give yourself permission to enjoy. There will be some great memories made that you’ll want to be part of, especially if it’s your child’s first time baking cookies or Auntie M is bringing her famous sweet potato pie. P.S. Did you know that the average person only gains about one pound during the holiday season? 
  • But no excuses either. Vacation days and the spontaneity of the season shift our normal schedules around. However, this is not the time to forget every good habit and start eating pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day; it’s not a continuous feast that starts the week before and lasts until January 2. Pick your moments to splurge and try to stay as close to your routine as possible. 
  • Eat your veggies. Aim to make veggies half of your plate at mealtime. They tend to be high in fiber, as well as much-needed vitamins, so you’ll reap multiple benefits. P.S. If you’re asked to bring a dish, why not offer to bring some veggies so you’ll know there will be some. 
  • But don’t be fooled. During the holidays, even the veggie dishes become more indulgent. Beware of concoctions masquerading as “healthy.” (Lookin’ at you, creamed spinach, yams smothered with marshmallows, and green beans swimming in a casserole.) Keep an eye on portion size if these are your favorites.
  • Don’t try to “save” calories. It can be tempting to forego breakfast and lunch on the day of a big event. However, the strategy of skipping meals in order to save your calories usually backfires. You arrive at the party famished. Overwhelmed with choices, you’ll end up scarfing down everything in sight. 
  • Snack healthy. Keeping your blood sugar in check during the day will help you keep your appetite at bay. When you feel like nibbling, take advantage of yummy seasonal fruits at their peak now. Choose from apples, pomegranates, oranges and grapefruits. Pair them with a handful of nuts, which are packed with fiber and healthy fat.
  • Slow down and savor. Enjoy every bite you take and the company around you. Put your fork down and talk in between bites. Give your body time to trigger your brain that you’re satisfied – before you’re stuffed.
  • Eat calories instead of drinking them. With so many decadent food choices, beware of piling on with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages that are laden with sugar, carbs and calories. Water can help you stay hydrated and cut cravings instead. Try alternating a glass of water for every alcoholic or sugary drink you have. Or, mix club soda with wine to slow alcohol consumption and cut calorie intake. 
  • Eat “low to high” and enjoy dessert! Yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too! Try eating low to high to build up to the richest food. Start with the lowest calorie food options, like broth or salad. Then move to the lean protein as you work your way up to the triple-digit dessert items. You’ll feel nourished and not deprived.
  • Take a walk. Something as simple as a brisk 15- to 20-minute walk after a meal can help ease digestion and stabilize your blood sugar. 

From all of us at YourTown Health, eat well and be merry this holiday season! 

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