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Six essential tips for healthy holiday eating

CMU dietetics students offer advice beyond collaborative high school program

Contact: Dan Digmann

​Many Mount Pleasant High School students will go into their family meals and parties this holiday season with the tools they need to make healthy eating choices.

That’s because throughout this past semester, Central Michigan University dietetics and community health education students launched the collaborative program “Always Complete from A to Zinc” to create innovative ways of bringing nutritional health education to the high school. 

CMU students and faculty closely collaborated with high school students, teachers and parents to establish this partnership that will continue into next year. Ideas for future projects include creating a cookbook with health-modified recipes of students’ favorite baked goods, conducting a bake sale with these modified recipes, and implementing one healthy lunch every month in the high school’s culinary arts restaurant, Herbs & Spices. 

Leslie Hildebrandt, CMU nutrition and dietetics professor, established the program where her students enroll in a one-hour class that requires them to work at the high school for 40 hours and mentor students in healthy eating. 

Healthy for the holidays

As CMU students spent the semester sharing their knowledge with high school students about nutritional health, here are six tips they shared to help people make more nutritious and healthy eating choices this holiday season:

Dietetics4"Move your socializing away from the buffet or appetizer trays. This will help minimize the unconscious snacking."
-- Leah Bennett, dietetics senior, Birmingham, Michigan 

Dietetics3"Bring a healthy dish to holiday gatherings to make sure there is something healthy that you can indulge in."
Bailey Parmelee, dietetics senior, Greenville, Michigan

Dietetics5"Never go hungry to a holiday party as you may end up overindulging in unhealthy options. Instead, have a nutritious and filling snack before heading to the event, and practice moderation when you arrive."
-- Brianna Gulker, dietetics sophomore, DeWitt, Michigan

Dietetics2​"Try and find a balance with what you eat. For example, if you know you are going to a holiday party in the evening, try and eat lighter and healthier during the day." -- Natalie Wagner, community health education senior, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dietetics1"To keep from splurging too much and adding to your waistline, start the night first with appetizers like raw vegetables and hummus or a nice, big salad. The fiber in vegetables and bean dips will fill you up and keep you from overeating later."
-- Kaitlyn Miller, dietetics junior, Bitburg, Germany

LeslieH.jpg"Sit down and savor small, intentional bites of your favorite holiday foods. Nibble slowly, giving each bite your undivided attention and appreciation."
-- Leslie Hildebrandt, nutrition and dietetics professor, CMU

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