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Delaware Health and Social Services

DHSS Press Release

Date: December 14, 2015

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498


Dover, DE (Dec. 14, 2015) - Many of us dread the weight gain that seems to come with a holiday season spent making cookies, going to parties and fixing big family meals. To avoid packing on extra pounds during the holidays, the Division of Public Health (DPH) recommends adopting a healthy eating strategy, and making exercise a priority during this busy time. DPH also has some unique gift ideas to help your loved ones stay healthy and safe.

Studies show that holiday weight gain is often permanent. Here are some suggestions for navigating holiday parties in a healthy way:

  • Don't go to a holiday gathering hungry, eat something healthy before departing.
  • Snack on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds - and fewer chips and desserts - which fill up stomachs with nutrients and fiber. Carrots, peppers, celery, snow pea pods, kale, broccoli, and cauliflower are healthy substitutions.
  • Try salsa or low-fat dips instead of heavy cream varieties.
  • Look to fresh berries, apple slices, citrus wedges, figs, and dates to satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Try unsweetened nuts, sunflower seeds, and toasted pumpkin seeds, which also provide crunch and valuable nutrients.
  • Opt for water instead of alcoholic drinks. Water helps stomachs feel full and hydrates the skin during the season when skin is drier due to cold weather outside and heated homes inside.
  • Visit the DPH WIC Program website for quick recipes and videos for crispy kale chips, baked tortilla chips, fruit salsa and more:

Increasing physical activity during the holidays may not be easy, but it reduces the risk for chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, while improving mental health and wellness.

"Delawareans should work toward being more physically active despite the cold weather and busy schedules," said Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director. "You don't have to join a gym or buy fancy exercise equipment. You can take a power walk around the mall, or bundle up and walk around your neighborhood or at a local park. You can go roller skating, jump rope, swim at an indoor pool, or play basketball or dodge ball. Activities can occur throughout your day." For fun and easy physical activity ideas, visit

To encourage a healthy start in 2016, DPH shares these health-conscious gift ideas:

Healthy Movement:

  • A pedometer, fitness tracker bracelet, or water bottle
  • An adjustable jump rope or a resistance cord kit, kettlebells, or a pull-up bar to hang in a doorway
  • Workout mat and towel for yoga and Pilates enthusiasts
  • Gym or health club memberships for a full or partial year
  • Balls and gear for tennis, volleyball, football, basketball, soccer, baseball, and bowling
  • Skis or ski lift tickets
  • Paid registration fees for sports leagues, dance classes, or fitness classes
  • A bicycle, and don't forget the helmet
  • A Delaware State Parks annual pass
  • A ping pong table, paddles, and balls
  • Workout hats, ear warmers, mittens or gloves, shirts, leggings, workout jackets, athletic footwear, or a sports bag
  • Ear buds, wireless headphones, or a music gift card

Healthy Eating:

  • A crock pot and non-stick pans and skillets, to reduce using oil when cooking
  • Cookbooks of healthy recipes, including vegetarian and vegan meals
  • A gift basket of assorted teas and a tea-brewing thermos, or of fresh and dried fruits, nuts, and vegetables
  • A selection of low-fat, high protein snacks
  • Juicers, mini blenders, and vegetable slicers that cut vegetables into curved ribbons
  • Membership to a community produce delivery service
  • Fruit-of-the-month membership

Health and Safety gifts: prepare for emergencies

For the vehicle:

  • Ice scraper and windshield snow cover
  • Cell phone car charger and extra cell phone battery
  • Jumper cables and emergency flag
  • Small shovel, sand, rock salt, and cat litter
  • Travel blankets, hat, and mittens
  • Energy bars, dried fruit, and bottled water

For the house:

  • Flameless lanterns and candles, flashlights, and batteries
  • Canned foods, a manual can opener, non-salty snacks, and bottled water
  • Blankets and throws
  • Board games
  • A new snow shovel and a bag of salt
  • A fire extinguisher
  • A battery-operated carbon monoxide detector

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.

Last Updated: Tuesday December 15 2015
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