VICENZA -- This is the time for eating and giving thanks, so here are some healthy and easy ways you can eat, give thanks, and not sabotage your physique.

Don't skip meals. This will leave you hungry and prone to overeating. Instead, choose high fiber foods that will satisfy your hunger and keep you fuller longer. Examples are fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Pair these with lean protein such as turkey or Greek yogurt for a satisfying meal or snack.

Seek out fruits and veggies first. Try to make these foods at least half of your plate, and limit the number of high calorie toppings and sauces such as cheese, bacon and butter. Then fill the rest of your plate with the classics such as turkey, ham, macaroni, mashed potatoes or pumpkin pie. By keeping half of your plate filled with high fiber, low calorie foods like fruits and veggies you still will get full and enjoy the celebrations while maintaining a healthy diet.

Avoid unnecessary stress. Make sure that you make time to take care of yourself. Stay well hydrated with at least two liters of water per day. Stay active by bundling up and taking a walk or playing flag football with your friends and family. Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity; Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity daily.

Also practice stress management skills like art, music, yoga and meditation. To learn more about stress management, call the Army Wellness Center to enroll in their biofeedback classes at 0444-61-9260.

Keep food safe. The most important thing you can do is wash hands frequently while cooking and before and after eating. Practice safe food handling from the time you shop to the time you serve the food. This means always separating raw meat, poultry and seafood from ready-to-eat foods like fruits, vegetables and bread. Don't forget to wash all surfaces and knives.
(Passut is the Patient Advocate and Public Affairs Representative for USAHC-Vicenza.)