How to make healthy choices in the coming weeks of holiday excess

Thanksgiving kicks off a season of overeating, foodborne illness and drinking dangers

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It's Thanksgiving week — the true start of the holiday season, with an excess of food and drink over the next six weeks. KYW Medical Editor Dr. Brian McDonough has some advice for how to stay safe and healthy through a month full of dinners and parties.

“I think that's the whole trick for the holidays — trying to make certain that you essentially do things in moderation,” McDonough said.

“It's an opportunity to celebrate. We get excited and we eat. … Enjoy it, make the most of it, but try to show some discipline.”

Don’t have two pieces of pie just because it's Thanksgiving, he said. And no one needs a full turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce and stuffing at 10 p.m. after eating a full meal a few hours before.

With holiday leftovers also comes the potential for foodborne illnesses. To protect against unexpected problems in the days that follow, be choosy about what you take if leftovers have been sitting out, McDonough said. Don't take anything made with mayonnaise or dressing or anything that can spoil pretty quickly.

And if you’re going to save food in the refrigerator, be aware of how long it’s been there and how long it's safe to eat. Cooked turkey can be kept in the fridge for three to four days," according to RealHomes.com. After it's cooked, store turkey leftovers in the refrigerator within a couple of hours and when they're cool.

The CDC offers extensive guidelines for storage.

Moderation and common sense can also save people from the dangers of drinking too much. Of course, if you're driving to a party, you never want to drink and drive, McDonough said. But this time of year, with the potential for so many other people to drink and drive, you have to be especially careful on the road.

“The other thing is there's a syndrome called Holiday Heart Syndrome. People, they might be home, and they have more drinks than they normally have. And you can actually change the rhythm of your heart and go into what they call atrial fibrillation from too much alcohol. We see that from people if they eat a lot of food and drink a lot of alcohol and they're getting a little longer in the tooth,” McDonough said.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images