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University of Minnesota School of Public Health professor Lisa Harnack, who directs the Nutrition Coordinating Center, offers some advice for curbing calories during the holiday season.

School of Public Health expert offers calorie counts for top holiday foods and tips for dealing with holiday eating

November 18, 2010

For many people, Thanksgiving is the start of a food tsunami that extends through New Year’s Eve. It’s tempting to cast care aside and indulge over the holidays, but doing so can add up to an ever-expanding waistline.

A University of Minnesota expert who offers some advice for curbing calories during the holiday season is:

School of Public Health professor Lisa Harnack, who directs the Nutrition Coordinating Center.

To see a video interview with Harnack discussing some tips for holiday eating, visit http://mediamill.cla.umn.edu/mediamill/display/89268.

Take a little bit of everything but not a whole lot of anything, says Harnack. “A wonderful variety of great tasting foods is one of the highlights of holiday gatherings. So, take advantage without over indulging by exerting portion control. With a dab of this and a dab of that you can keep on the right track.”

She also suggests switching to water. “After a drink or two of calorie-laden wine, cider, etc. consider switching to a calorie-free beverage like water, diet soda, coffee or tea.”

And back away from the table once you're done, Harnack says. “Once the meal is done it’s time to push off and do something with family and friends that doesn’t involve eating. Retire to the living room for conversation or pull out a board game. Better yet, stroll around the neighborhood or walk the kids to a nearby park.”

To speak with Harnack, contact Justin Paquette, U of M Academic Health Center, (612) 626-7037 or jpaquett@umn.edu; or Kris Stouffer, School of Public Health, (612) 624-4460, stouffer@umn.edu.

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The Nutrition Coordinating Center provides databases, software, training and services for the collection and analysis of dietary data. The center distributes and supports dietary analysis software applications for the collection and coding of 24-hour dietary recalls and the analysis of food records, menus and recipes. The center also maintains a comprehensive research-quality food and nutrient database, the only one of it’s kind nationally. The database of more than 18,000 foods has been in existence for 35 years. Visit http://www.ncc.umn.edu for more information.

For more than 60 years, the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has been among the top accredited schools of public health in the nation. With a mission focused on research, teaching\ and service, the school attracts nearly $100 million in sponsored research each year, has more than 100 faculty members and more than 1,300 students, and is engaged in community outreach activities locally, nationally and in dozens of countries worldwide.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit www.unews.umn.edu. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

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videoHoliday eating tips from the School of Public Health 

Holiday eating tips from the School of Public Health

Related Links

More helpful advice from Lisa Harnack, courtesy of the School of Public Health

The Nutrition Coordinating Center