Students prepare to stay fit as the holiday season approaches

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    Staying healthy during the holidays can be difficult for even the fittest Horned Frogs.

    For junior supply chain major Callie Montgomery, staying in shape and avoiding unhealthy holiday foods was not always easy.

    “With so many dinners and parties and holiday foods, it’s really tough to make healthy decisions sometimes,” she said. “When I am trying to stay healthy, I don’t always know what to choose.”

    Dr. Mary Anne Gorman, registered and licensed dietician and director of the Departmental Honors Program for TCU’s department of nutritional sciences , said it was all too easy for students to fall victim to holiday season treats and feasts. The average person gained as much as seven to nine pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, she said.

    “You can work out all year long and then blow it all in one month,” she said. “The way to avoid that is to think about what you eat.”

    Gorman’s advice for staying healthy during the season was to eat calories instead of drinking them, eat nutrient-dense foods and indulge in moderation.

    At holiday parties, avoiding sugary drinks and sticking to water or tea and avoiding alcohol as much as possible would prevent intake of “empty calories,” she said.

    When preparing foods in the kitchen, low-fat alternatives to fatty holiday staples would be best, she said. Low-fat and low-calorie cheese, butter, meat and other items would save calories in crucial areas where serving portions are often larger than what might normally be eaten.

    Fruits and vegetables, usually high in nutrients and low in carbohydrates, calories and fat were the best go-to foods at parties and meals, she said.

    For holiday staples like eggnog, which is very high in fat and provides virtually no nutritional value, it would be best to avoid it or at least consume very little, Gorman said.

    Whatever diet or nutrition information students need should be sought from a registered and licensed dietician, she said.

    “Be careful about picking up the first pamphlet you see at the [grocery store,]” Gorman said. “Your information needs to come from a legitimate source so you know you’re making the right decision.”