Healthy holiday eating

December 11, 2008 4:29:36 PM PST
This time of year can be a particularly challenging time to keep everyone in the family healthy. Marla Law Abrolat, a pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente, has some tips and reminders to help keep yourself and your kids feeling great.

Healthy holiday eating tips:

  1. Don't skip meals
  2. Make a point of getting your servings of fruits and vegetables in every day (the mostly likely thing to be less available at parties, functions, etc.)
How to handle social functions:
  1. Don't go to dinner parties hungry and watch portion size
  2. Step away from the buffet table and keep your hands occupied
  3. Limit alcohol. Extra calories and it stimulates appetite; try club soda with lime/lemon, or offer to be the designated driver
How to handle treats/food gifts, etc.:
  1. It's the giving season, so share edible treats with family, co-workers, friends, etc.
  2. Donate to a local food shelter
For kids, specifically:
  1. Limit sodas, juice and energy drinks (reminder on how much sugar is in soda)
Tips to avoid catching a cold or the flu:
  1. Get enough sleep
  2. Get your flu vaccine. Very important for kids, recommended for everyone under 18; There's even an injection-free version and there's still time this season to get one.
  3. Wash your hands often and take enough time (15 seconds)
  4. Sneezing and Coughing: smother on sleeve, not on hand
  5. Stay Active: go for walks with the family, check out light displays, etc.
Tips for avoiding holiday safety hazards:
  1. Seasonal Plants. With young kids, be especially watchful of what they put in their mouths. Many plants used for decoration at this time of year - holly, poinsettias, mistletoe and others are potentially poisonous and should always be kept out of children's reach. Symptoms of plant poisoning: vomiting, diarrhea. If you suspect poisoning, call the National Poison Control Hotline: 1-800-222-1222
  2. Choking Hazards. Also with young kids, this is a time of year when choking hazards abound - decorations, toys, etc. Even traditional holiday food like popcorn or nuts could be potentially a hazard.
  3. Decorations. Be careful when decorating. Ornament hangers and "angel's hair" (made from spun glass) can cause cuts or eye damage.
  4. Practice Fire Safety. Beware of overloaded electrical outlets; be especially careful with candles - Hanukkah menorah, Kwanzaa kinara or otherwise
About Marla Law Abrolat, MD, FAAP
Dr. Marla Law Abrolat joined Kaiser Permanente in 1999 and practices general pediatrics with an emphasis on well-being and child development.

Dr. Abrolat is a respected Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Council on Communication and Media; Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness; and Section on Young Physicians.

As a Kaiser Permanente pediatrician, Dr. Abrolat is focused on raising awareness of the importance of nutritional balance and physical activity among her patients and the community. Dr. Abrolat is responsible for launching the Kaiser Permanente "Reach Out and Read" literacy program at several Kaiser Permanente Inland Empire clinic locations, and served as the program's medical director and coordinator for several years.

Dr. Abrolat also created the "Get Fit Program," a community outreach effort to promote fitness in local elementary schools. In addition, she has actively engaged with students, parents and teachers to support the ABC-7 Kid Healthy campaign in San Bernardino County. Dr. Abrolat was most recently a featured physician in the Kid Healthy physician phone bank, which was broadcast during the news programs on KABC in Southern California. Since August 2008, Dr. Abrolat has promoted the "Healthy Families" project - an online resource created by Kaiser Permanente and Disney Family.com - in national print, radio and television interviews.

Dr. Abrolat received her medical degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed her pediatric training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She lives in Southern California with her husband and two children, where she enjoys volunteering in their classrooms and cheering at her children's sporting events. Her passion is to be active with her family, including hikes and mountain biking in the local foothills and their annual participation in the Disneyland Family Fun 5K Run.


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