The staff of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments asks, “Do you wish you could make the holidays “lite?” – not adding those unwanted pounds?

The staff of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments asks, “Do you wish you could make the holidays “lite?” – not adding those unwanted pounds?

To prevent the weight and keep the cheer, the departments are passing on some of the best holiday advice they know.

Going to a holiday party without gorging yourself? Do you think that's a contradiction in terms? f so, think again.

Here are some ways to live it up without over-indulging:

• Try not to go to a cocktail or dinner party thirsty and famished.

• Have a large glass of water or low-fat milk and a piece of wheat bread or crackers before you go.

• Head for the veggies and go light on the dip.

• Eat slowly and chew your food; this allows the “appestat” – the fullness control in your brain – to catch up to what’s really happening in your stomach.

• Dilute wine and punch with club soda.

• Throughout the evening, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

• Be last in line at the buffet. You’ll be less likely to have seconds.

• Don’t hover over the food table or at the bar – you’re much more likely to eat and drink too much.

• Put down your fork from time to time and join in the good conversation that usually abounds during celebratory meals. Taking time to talk slows down the feasting and keeps you from gulping down food.

After all this good advice, what do you do if you haven’t been able to resist the temptation to overindulge? Don’t hesitate to loosen your belt or take off your girdle. This helps to prevent indigestion caused by acidic stomach juices backing up into the esophagus. Lying down flat or a nap after a heavy meal may cause similar problems.

However, if you do end up with heartburn, a dose of antacid, sold in any drug store, usually puts an end to your discomfort.

“Remember that although holiday feasting is an accomplishment, much of the joy of the season comes from reuniting with friends and family, reminiscing, catching up on news, and enjoying good conversation,” the departments said in a press release. “So put the emphasis on the company and not the food, and have a happy and healthy holiday season.”

For more information on healthy holiday eating visit www.henrystarkhealth.com.