Happy ‘Heavy Days’

e admit November is the second-to-last month (after December) we should be talking about eating healthy. But relax: No one expects you to quit all your bad eating habits ‘cold turkey.’ Local health and diet guru Velonda Thompson-manager of the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) and breastfeeding coordinator at the Institute for Population Health in Detroit-offers you three ways to stay in shape by considering what’s on your plate.

1. RAINBOW DIET.

Red tomatoes, collard greens and richly orange sweet potatoes not only make pretty plate pairings, but also-when cooked lightly-pack healthy doses of cancer-fighting nutrients. “Color is key. So if you look at your plate and you don’t have a lot of color, you want to revise your plate.”

OUR TIP: At the numerous family dinners to come, sample each dish on the table to fill your plate instead of double downing on your favorite foods. As Thompson says, “color is key,” and we believe it opens the door to variety.

2. AVOID THE 'ITUS.'

They don’t call them “happy” holidays for no reason. Tryptophan-a key amino acid that exists organically in meats and dairy-is a natural antidepressant that exerts a euphorically calming effect on your body, which helps regulate sleep. So the more we eat, the happier our holidays. “If you are eating a lot of protein, then you are eating a lot of tryptophan. And we are eating more than usual during the holidays. We are stuffed,” she says. “So you are going to get food coma because you ate too much.”

OUR TIP: Have dinner earlier so you have enough time left in the day to burn off calories with some physical activity before you sleep.

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3. CHANGE YOUR OIL.

Appropriately so, in the Motor City, we treat our cars better than our bodies. “All the bad fats that we eat on Thanksgiving is like putting the wrong oil in your car. When you think about your Thanksgiving dinner, you want to avoid hydrogenated anything. If you don’t change anything at all about your eating habits, change the type of oil.”

OUR TIP: Grape-seed, sesame or olive oils are good replacements for butter and other hydrogenated oils. They could be just the right amount of change for your heart to make sure you live to see a new year.

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