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Healthy Holidays
Image of holiday meal

Office parties, neighborhood gatherings, family celebrations - from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day - most Americans are surrounded by hard to resist food and find it difficult to be physically active. Parties and busy schedules can make it challenging to eat healthy and can lead to stress. Our cool, wet winters challenge us to overcome barriers in getting physical activity.

If these common holiday pitfalls seem all too familiar, why not make this holiday season a healthy one and take advantage of the healthy options at your worksite and in your community?

Just as there are lots of great holiday traditions, there are lots of ways to start new, healthy traditions with your family, at work, or just for yourself. What holiday tradition or activity could use a healthy change? Start something new and make it an annual occurrence.


Work

Stay physically active at work and eat the recommended 5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Take part in the opportunities that your worksite offers such as:

Physical Activity Opportunities

  • Take advantage of your stairs during the winter months when you might not be able to get outside.
  • Make it a daily habit to walk with a friend before work, during your break or at lunch.
  • Use the fitness center discount offered by your health insurer. State employees can look at the details on the PEBB website.

Healthy Eating Opportunities

  • Volunteer to help with the office party; suggest healthy options for shared food. Encourage your employer to make healthy choices the norm when food is served at work.
  • Get involved with the Governor’s Food Drive by suggesting healthy options to sell as a way to raise money. Make this an annual event to support healthy choices for all employees.
  • Start a healthy holiday recipe swap in your office. Set guidelines on what is considered healthy, for example recipes that feature fruits or vegetables, are low in fat, use low-fat dairy products, or contain a whole grain such as whole wheat or brown rice.
  • When eating out, ask your server to put half of your entrée in a box before it’s brought to the table. You’ll have your lunch for the next day when you leave!
  • Watch your portions. A big amount isn't going to taste better than a small amount. In fact, eating too much and not feeling good afterward defeats the purpose. Eat a small amount that tastes good and walk away feeling good, too.


Family

Keep physically active during the holidays and include your family members. Are you getting the recommended 30 minutes per day of physical activity? Here are some opportunities where your community is supporting your healthy habits:

Physical Activity Opportunities

Salem

Eugene

  • Mark your calendars to take a daily hike up Skinner’s Butte. Access the Butte off Pearl Street, near downtown.
  • Join a local pool and fitness center or enroll in a physical activity program through the City of Eugene 

Portland

Healthy Eating Suggestions

  • Learn more about cranberries and make this Recipe of the Month with your family: Cranberry Apple Crisp (pdf).
  • Make healthy eating a holiday habit. Decide with your family members what healthy foods to have available throughout the holiday season to encourage healthy choices.
  • Do not serve soda at parties and family dinners. Instead serve low-fat milk, fresh squeezed orange juice or water.
  • Check out the Harvest of the Month family newsletter for ideas to help your kids (and the whole family) eat healthy and get physical. Harvest of the Month is also available in Spanish (Espanol).


For You!

The holiday season can be stressful for all of us. Fortunately, the Employee Assistance Program offered by Cascade Centers is a free program for State of Oregon employees. Take advantage of the services they offer to relieve your stress around issues such as:

  • Relationship problems
  • Depression
  • Legal and financial assistance
  • Child and elder care
  • Crisis counseling
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

For more information, visit the PEBB-specific link on the Cascade Centers website or call Cascade toll free at 1-800-433-2320.