5 Easy Ways to Enjoy a Healthier Game Day Party

Healthy Super Bowl Snack Photo

America’s biggest sporting event is right around the corner, and for many people, it will be the first real hurdle for their healthy eating goals and New Year’s resolutions. But before you panic or give into temptation completely, we’ve got a few simple tips to help ensure your game day experience doesn’t derail your resolutions completely.

Don’t “Save” Calories for Later

On the day of the big game, you know you’re going to be enjoying some game day bites and treats later in the evening. This may tempt you to be too careful about how much you eat beforehand in an effort to “save” some calories for later.

Although this might seem like a reasonable idea, it’s important to be sure you don’t eat too little throughout the day because that opens you up to overeating later on. Moreover, not eating enough can actually slow your metabolism down.

Enjoy balanced, healthful meals as you normally would throughout the day, and consider eating a low-calorie snack, such as fruits and veggies, before you head over to the party. This will ensure you don’t arrive feeling hungry and tempted to overindulge.

Feel Good About Fiber-Filled Selections

Football and chili have become synonymous on game days, and that’s a good thing for you. Go light on the toppings, and enjoy a reasonable portion of chili that includes protein-packed meat and fiber-rich beans. Both fiber and protein will fill you up quickly and keep you feeling full throughout the game. Bonus points for low-fat turkey or chicken chili in lieu of chili with ground beef!

Mix in Low-Calorie Options

This one might feel a little bit “easier said than done,” but it’s one of the best ways to limit your caloric intake on game day and increase the nutritional value of your experience. If you find yourself craving something to nibble on during the commercials or at halftime, reach for the vegetable platter instead of the nachos, or go for some fruit instead of another round of wings.

Don’t worry, we’re not saying you shouldn’t get to enjoy your favorite game day eats. You’ll just feel so much better about your food choices if you mix in some healthier items throughout the game.

Substitute Alcohol for Other Beverages

At most game day parties, there will be no shortage of beer, wine or other alcoholic beverages, which are all filled with empty calories that can add up quickly. If you’re not quite on board with foregoing alcoholic drinks altogether, one of the best ways to keep your caloric intake in check is to substitute a few of your drinks throughout the game for diet soda, sparkling water, or ice water instead of defaulting to another alcoholic beverage.

No Matter What, Don’t Overthink It

Whether you’re trying to eat better for a New Year’s resolution, working to manage your diabetes, or simply just trying to eat well as you always do, it’s important to keep everything in perspective at events like this.

Do your best to make smart choices, but don’t get discouraged if you accidentally overindulge or eat something heavy in calories and light in nutrition. Remember, you probably won’t have these food choices on most days. Stay focused on your ultimate goal of living well, and don’t let one game day party snowball into other poor eating habits throughout the rest of the year.

Getting ready to host a Super Bowl party for friends and family? Fill your game day menu with healthy options like those featured on EatingWell.com. As always, be sure to consult with your doctor or primary care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your diet choices.

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Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation’s Annual Celebration Gala Slated for March 23

Celebration Gala Photo

Start thinking about what you’re going to wear, and save the date because tickets for Southern Maryland’s favorite black-tie affair are on sale now.

Join us to celebrate the hospital’s 80th anniversary at the gala, on Saturday, March 23, at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club in Issue, MD.

We’re proud to offer three ticket options so you can choose your own experiences. Be one of our VIPs and start the night off with a delicious chef-inspired dinner, or join us later for food stations, open bar, dancing and so much more. No matter which reservation you choose, this is one event you won’t want to miss.

Take a look below to see what each reservation option offers, and purchase your tickets today. Don’t wait — our VIP reservations are available in limited quantities and early bird pricing on all ticket levels ends March 1.

VIP Dinner Reservations (Limited Quantities Available)

$175 each through March 1 ($200 thereafter)

  • Early Admittance (6pm Entry)
  • Chef-Inspired Dinner
  • Open Bar
  • Hors D’oeuvres and Desserts
  • Fun and Festivities Until Midnight
Gala Reservations

$125 each through March 1 ($150 thereafter)

  • General Admittance (8pm Entry)
  • Open Bar
  • Hors D’oeuvres and Desserts
  • Fun and Festivities Until Midnight
Late Night Reservations

$75 each through March 1 ($100 thereafter)

  • Evening Admittance (9:30pm Entry)
  • Open Bar
  • Hors D’oeuvres and Desserts
  • Fun and Festivities Until Midnight

Purchase Tickets

As always, this event’s proceeds directly benefit the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation and its mission to make Southern Maryland a healthier, better place to live.

Getting Your Business Involved

Celebration Gala is an ideal opportunity for businesses to show their support for a great cause and maximize exposure to our audience leading up to and during this event. Visit our website to learn more about the sponsorship levels offered at this year’s event, or simply call the Foundation office at (301) 609-4132 today for more information.Become a Sponsor

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Dr. Eleanor Faherty is Now Accepting New Patients in Waldorf, MD

Advanced Breast Care in Southern Maryland. Dr. Eleanor Faherty.

The mission of the University of Maryland Medical System in Southern Maryland has always been to provide members of our community with essential health care services in nearby locations. We believe that everything from hospital services and surgical care to physical rehabilitation and primary care should be no more than just a short drive away. And now, we’re excited to announce that high-quality breast care is available closer to home than ever.

Eleanor Faherty, MD, FACS, combines advance techniques and a compassionate approach to provide greater outcomes for patients with breast health issues — all in a convenient Waldorf, MD, location.

About Dr. Faherty

A graduate of Albany Medical College and an Iraq War veteran, Dr. Eleanor Faherty has become one of Southern Maryland’s most respected and recognizable health care professionals. You can learn more about Dr. Faherty’s background, education, affiliations, and certifications on her profile on our website.

Specialities and Services

As one of the region’s foremost practitioners of breast care, Dr. Faherty specializes in a variety of services, including:

  • Breast Surgery
  • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • Pre- and Post-Surgery Rehabilitation
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Supportive Care
  • Patient Education
  • Support Groups

Medical Insurance Options

Dr. Faherty’s practice proudly accepts most major insurance plans. Please contact your medical insurance provider to find out if your procedure qualifies for insurance coverage or financial assistance. You can also call (410) 328-7320 to find out what plans are accepted.

Office Location and Scheduling an Appointment

Dr. Faherty’s office is located at the address below (click here to get directions):

11340 Pembrooke Square, #203
Waldorf, MD 20603

Ready to learn more or schedule your appointment? Simply call (301) 609-6363 today.

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How We’re Working to Prevent Pneumonia at UM Charles Regional Medical Center

Pneumonia Prevention

Pneumonia is a relatively common yet serious infection that affects a person’s lungs. As a result, coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing are the most common symptoms associated with pneumonia.

This serious illness can be caused by a variety of viruses, bacteria, and fungi, but in America, it’s most commonly caused by respiratory syncytial virus, often just called RSV. Unlike pneumonia that’s contracted out in the public (known as “community-acquired pneumonia), hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is an infection that occurs during a hospital stay.

Why is HAP so Dangerous?

This form of pneumonia is especially serious because it generally occurs when someone is too sick to fight off germs. Moreover, because it’s caused by bacteria or viruses present in a hospital, it’s often more resistant to treatment than cases of community-acquired pneumonia.

Steps We’re Taking to Prevent Hospital-Acquired Pneumonia

Because we know the dangers of HAP and understand our responsibility to keep patients and visitors safe at the hospital, we take great care to limit the spread of pneumonia. Here are a few of the things we’re encouraging our team and our patients to do to help us reduce HAP this time of year:

Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

Although pneumonia is a well-known illness, what many people don’t know is that good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent it. We encourage our patients to brush their teeth three times a day to limit the cases of aspiration pneumonia, an especially dangerous form of the illness.

Consistent Handwashing

Because HAP is most commonly caused by the spread of germs at the hospital, we emphasize frequent handwashing by every member of our staff as well as those who visit the hospital. If you’re visiting the hospital, you can help, too, by washing your hands after you blow your nose or use the restroom.

Encouraging Activity

We know that not everyone in the hospital can get up and be active, but for those who are able to spend part of their day out of bed and moving around, this can be an essential way to prevent pneumonia at the hospital.

Sitting Upright in Bed

As we noted above, aspiration pneumonia is a dangerous form of the illness. It’s caused by food or fluids that end up in the lungs instead of the stomach. One of the ways we try to limit the potential for this to happen is by encouraging patients to sit upright in their beds or chairs. This is especially true for patients who have trouble swallowing or coughing, as well as those who need to be fed by others during their stay.

Using a Spirometer

For people living with chronic diseases, such as COPD or emphysema, a spirometer is a device used to exercise the lungs in order to improve lung capacity and their ability to breathe. Our team recommends continued usage of a spirometer for those who need one as it’s one of the best ways to keep the lungs and airways open. This is also a good tool for people who are recently post surgery.

Although we’ve placed a special focus on preventing HAP this time of year, we always recommend people in our community get the seasonal flu vaccine to help prevent this form of pneumonia as well as community-acquired pneumonia. To learn more about pneumonia and how you can help prevent it for yourself and those around you, check out this article from the American Lung Association.

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6 Things You Can Do on New Year’s Eve to Avoid a Trip to the Hospital

Fireworks Image

There’s no worse way to start off the new year than having to make a trip to the ER. So whether you’re planning on going out or hosting your own celebration this New Year’s Eve, here are some simple things you can do to ensure you have a fun, memorable, and safe start to 2019.

Don’t Drink and Drive

This one should go without saying, but it has to be said every year: Don’t drink and drive. Not only will you be putting others at serious risk of injury or death, but you’ll be putting yourself in harm’s way as well. Be smart and don’t risk it even if you think you can probably make it home after a few drinks.

Remember, a long Uber, Lyft, or cab ride is far less expensive than a trip to the hospital or a ride in a police car.

Use Public Transportation if Possible

Whether you’re planning on consuming alcoholic beverages or not, the unfortunate truth is that there will still be plenty of people on the road who aren’t being smart about drinking and driving.

Avoid as much driving as possible by making use of buses, trains or other mass transit options in the DC area. If there aren’t any mass transit options available for where you’re going, consider booking a room or staying with a friend nearby so that you don’t have to travel far on New Year’s Eve.

Celebrate Responsibly

Pace yourself and know your limits. It’s OK to enjoy alcoholic beverages if you’re over 21 and you’re doing it responsibly, but, just like everything else on this list, be smart about it.

A good rule of thumb is to consume no more than one alcoholic drink per hour. And be sure to drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, low-sugar beverages to avoid dehydration. A simple way to do this is to alternate between water and alcoholic beverages throughout the night.

Eat Before You Head Out

Eating a healthy yet filling dinner is one of the best ways to prepare for a New Year’s Eve celebration. Not only will it help you avoid overindulging on treats and snacks while you’re out, but it’ll also help your body absorb alcohol you consume, which is the ideal way to avoid alcohol poisoning, too.

Be Smart About Champagne

Don’t overlook the dangers of mishandled Champagne at midnight. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) warns that corks can cause serious and potentially blinding eye injuries. This is because Champagne or sparkling wine corks can contain pressure levels as high as 90 pounds per square inch, which is much higher than the pressure in most car tires. All that pressure can propel a flying cork at speeds of up to 50 mph — fast enough to shatter glass.

The AAO recommends chilling your Champagne or sparkling wine to 45 degrees Fahrenheit (or colder) before you open it because warm bottles are more likely to pop unexpectedly. Here’s a great video to watch if you want to know how to open a bottle properly.

Go Out with a Group

One of the best ways to avoid trouble or mishaps on New Year’s Eve is to go out with a group of friends you trust.

Look out for one another and keep tabs on how much alcohol you and others in your group are consuming, and never let anyone in your group leave their drink unattended. If someone looks like they’ve had enough or needs to go home, you can help keep them safe — and they can keep you safe — by getting them a ride or making sure they get home.

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Holiday Hours for UM Charles Regional and UM Community Medical Group Practices

UM Charles Regional Holiday Hours

The holiday season is upon us, and a few of your local medical practices will be operating under holiday schedules. Read on for additional information regarding closures and adjusted hours as our team prepares to observe the holidays.

As always, our hospital’s emergency room will be open 24/7 throughout the holidays. In the event of an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.

UM Community Medical Group – Surgical Care

11340 Pembrooke Square, Suite 214
Waldorf, MD 20603

100 N. Oak Avenue
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5006

This locations will be closed on the following days:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24)
  • Christmas Day (12/25)
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31)
  • New Year’s Day (1/1)

This practice will follow its regular schedule for dates not listed above (Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm).

UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health

605 E. Charles Street
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-4800

The La Plata location will operate under the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

For dates not highlighted above, this practice will continue to operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm).

UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 101
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5044

Dr. Childress’ office will observe the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

On dates not listed above, the primary care practice will follow its regular schedule (Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm | Wednesdays, 8am-7pm).

UM Charles Regional Imaging

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 104
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 539-0345

Our imaging and radiology practice at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion will operate under the following schedule during the holiday season:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at Noon
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Eve (12/31) — Closing at Noon
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

On dates not listed above, this location will operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm).

UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation

5 N. La Plata Court, Suite 102
La Plata, MD 20646
(301) 609-5494

Our outpatient physical therapy and rehabilitation practice at the UM Charles Regional Medical Pavilion will operate under the following holiday schedule:

  • Christmas Eve (12/24) — Closing at 5pm
  • Christmas Day (12/25) — Closed
  • New Year’s Day (1/1) — Closed

For any dates not listed above, UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation will continue to operate under its normal schedule (Monday-Thursday, 7:30am-7pm | Friday, 7:30am-4pm).

For additional information about these holiday hours or to schedule an appointment, please call the numbers included with each practice, or visit UMCharlesRegional.org for additional information.

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5 Ways to Practice Toy Safety This Holiday Season

Toy Safety Tips

Traditional children’s toys are still one of the largest and fastest-growing segments of consumer purchases in America even as video games and electronic devices top many holiday wish lists. And if you’re like many people this holiday season, you’ll be looking to purchase a toy for the child or children on your shopping list.

While toys always make for great holiday gifts and have the ability to put a smile on just about any child’s face, without the proper care and attention, they can also pose a serious danger, too.

Is Toy Safety Really an Issue?

Although many parents and grandparents can probably attest to the fact that many children’s toys are safer today than they were in the past, toy-related injuries are still prevalent in the United States.

How prevalent are they? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s latest report, there were an estimated 251,700 toy-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments in 2017 alone. And of these reported injuries, 69 percent happened to children younger than 12 years of age.

Pay Close Attention to Age Recommendations and Warnings

Age and usage guidelines provided on the packaging of toys and in online product descriptions aren’t just simple recommendations for who might enjoy them. These important guidelines are generally outlined to provide parents an idea as to whether or not a toy is safe for their child to use in the first place.

Whether you’re doing your shopping online or in a store, take a few extra minutes to read the warnings and instructions for toys you’re considering. It’s also a good idea to read online reviews and user feedback if you’re still not sure.

Trust Your Own Judgment

Even if the packaging and warning labels don’t indicate a particular hazard, use your best judgment about whether or not a toy is right for your child. If it looks like something that you could see them misusing or having an accident with, it’s far better to be safe and look for something else.

Get the Whole Family Involved

If you have multiple children that vary in age, it’s important to teach older children about the dangers their toys can pose to their younger siblings or relatives. If they have toys that contain small pieces (choking hazards) or sharp points, instruct them to put them in places where younger children can’t get to them.

Keep Toy Storage in Mind

One of the easiest — but often overlooked — ways to prevent toy injuries is storage. Toys left on the floor across the home pose a tripping or falling hazard for many young children, so it’s smart to think about how you’ll store your child’s toys before you buy them. All it takes is a simple bin or container to keep your kids safe after playtime has ended.

Be Aware of Toy Recalls

After the holidays are said and done, it’s always a good idea to be on the lookout for toy-related recalls. Even though many of America’s top toy companies test their products for safety, accidents do happen, and toy recalls are not unheard of.

If there’s a previously undiscovered safety issue with a toy that you purchased for a child, you’ll want to know what you should do about it. You can keep up with the latest children’s product recall alerts from Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing childhood injuries.

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How You Can Support the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation This Holiday Season

Charles Regional Medical Center Photo

Whether we’re showing friends and family how much we love them or simply doing something for our community to show how much we care, this time of the year is all about giving. And, in our opinion, there’s nothing better than giving the gift of good health to those around you. Fortunately, you don’t have to look too far to figure out exactly how you can do just that.

For more than 30 years, the hospital’s foundation — now known as the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation — has supported our mission to provide exceptional health care to everyone who calls Charles County and Southern Maryland home. It’s no small task, but the CRMC Foundation’s dedicated work has resulted in continued expansions of our range of services offered in our region. And without the support of community members just like you, none of it would be possible.

If giving back is on your holiday to-do list this year, there’s no better time than right now to support the CRMC Foundation. Here’s how you can help.

One-Time Gifts

This is one of the easiest ways to give back to your community during the holidays. Simply visit CRMCfoundation.org and enter your donation amount. From there, you can select a specific gift designation, gift type, and gift dedication options.

Payments can be made easily and securely through the Foundation’s SSL-encrypted donation page or by calling the Foundation office at (301) 609-4132 today.

Planned Giving

Planned gifts are larger donations made by generous members of our community who’ve designated the CRMC Foundation as the beneficiary of their assets or through tax-advantaged gifts such as trusts, IRA rollovers, annuities, etc.

There are several ways to ensure your assets help you leave a lasting legacy in your community, and the planned giving site is the best place to start if you want to learn more. As always, you can contact the CRMC Foundation’s office at (301) 609-4132 if you have any questions.

Volunteering

In addition to financial gifts, the CRMC Foundation is always looking for willing volunteers to help plan and execute vital fundraising events such as the annual Wine Tasting, Tree of Life, and Crab Feast. You can sign up to be a volunteer today, and someone from the Foundation will be in touch with more information.

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6 Stories of Healing and Hope Honored with the 2018 Christmas Tree of Life

Tree of Life 2018 Event Photo

Every year, the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation hosts the Tree of Life Illumination Ceremony to signal the start of the holiday season.

On December 5 in our hospital’s courtyard, this annual event was dedicated to all those who’ve had a positive impact on our lives. The names and stories honored at this event turn this symbol of the holiday season into a symbol of hope and healing in our community.

There are so many stories of love and remembrance that can be told from this year’s event. Each name that was hung from a tree in our healing garden represents a personal connection with someone who lives or lived in your community. We invite you to stop by our hospital this holiday season to enjoy the holiday lights in the healing garden.

Tree of Life Healing Garden Photo

In the meantime, we wanted to share the special stories of those who helped our tree shine brightly into the night on December 5. These are the stories of our Tree of Life illuminators and a few other community members.

The Family and Friends of Dr. Guillermo E. Sanchez

Dr. Guillermo E. Sanchez Photo

Before his passing in 2018, Dr. Guillermo Sanchez served as the Chief of Staff, Chairman of the Department of Surgery, and Board Member of UM Charles Regional Medical Center. But beyond his titles, Dr. Sanchez was an asset to the health of our community and touched countless lives as an orthopedic surgeon.

We were so humbled to have the family Dr. Sanchez join us at the illumination ceremony and dedicate their light in his memory on this year’s tree.

Quint Burroughs

Quint Burroughs Photo

Earlier this year, University of Maryland student and Charles County resident Quint Burroughs came to UM Charles Regional Medical Center following hospitalization for a head injury and low sodium levels. He is still working towards a full recovery, but he and his family take comfort in knowing that they had somewhere to go nearby to get him the care he needed.

“His treatment was very personable,” Quint’s mother said. “Everyone knew what was going on and was trying to comfort him.”

We were so happy to see Quint at this year’s illumination ceremony and wish him the absolute best as he recovers from his injury.

The Bean Family

Bean Family Photo

After suffering from his first seizure earlier this year, Kimberly Bean’s son, Xavier, was transported to UM Charles Regional Medical Center for testing and treatment. Awaiting the results from his tests, Xavier suffered from another seizure and returned to the hospital. At that time, our Dr. Houston was able to determine that he was showing signs of epilepsy.

“From the moment we arrived at UM CRMC, the doctors, nurses, and medical staff treated Xavier and our family with the utmost care,” Kimberly said. “Because of his persistence, Dr. Houston was able to obtain the information needed to make the decision to prescribe an anti-seizure medication for Xavier.”

Kimberly joined us as one of our illuminators in honor of Dr. Houston and her son, and we wish the entire Bean family well as Xavier continues his treatment for seizures.

Greg Cockerham

Greg Cockerham Photo

Community Bank of the Chesapeake Executive Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Greg Cockerham and his family have been receiving care from our hospital since the days we were known as Physicians Memorial Hospital. From same-day surgery and trips to the ER to physical rehabilitation and wound healing, Greg and his family have had experiences with nearly every branch of UM Charles Regional.

“I have a great, longstanding relationship with the hospital,” Greg said. “It’s an amazing local hospital and has been for some time. They really value the relationship with their patients.”

We were so excited to welcome Greg to our illumination ceremony and look forward to a continued relationship with him and his family.

Dutch Williams

Dutch Williams Photo

After having his kegel muscles removed to treat his prostate cancer, Dutch Williams found himself in need of assistance to restore his physical strength. He reached out to Sara Hall, DPT, at UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation, who was more than willing to assist in his care.

Dutch’s treatment required an exercise program that he continues to this day as well as regular exams to ensure his muscles are responding appropriately. He has experienced continued improvements as a result of his muscle treatment but credits the informative approach Sara has taken throughout the process.

“It was a wonderful experience that helped me immensely,” he said. “I’m looking forward to coming back.”

Dutch’s story, like so many of our patients’ stories, is one of renewed hope after a life-changing experience, and we were so happy to be able to honor it at the illumination ceremony.

Bobby Stahl

Robert Stahl Photo

Town of La Plata Director of Operations Bobby Stahl came into our ER in August with a pain in his side, and further examination resulted in the removal of his appendix. Following the removal, his pathology results came in showing a cancerous tumor.

Because of the UM Charles Regional’s connection to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Bobby was confidently referred to a doctor who could treat him. He returned to work just days after his surgery and is staying well leading up to his procedure in December.

“The care that I got was exceptional,” Bobby said. “I really felt like they were looking out for my care and, in every situation, they made sure that I was comfortable and addressed my needs. Having the resources of the entire University of Maryland Medical System has been extremely important.”

This Year’s Cause

We, along with the entire Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation team, would like to thank everyone who contributed to this year’s Tree of Life.

As a result of your generosity, more than $4,000 was raised for the upcoming Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health in La Plata. Once it opens in 2019, this new practice will add to our existing range of services and help us further our mission to making Southern Maryland a healthier, better place to call home.

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5 Simple Ways to Enjoy a Healthier Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving is just days away, and if you’re like us, your mouth is already watering for the delicious dishes and desserts that await. Fortunately, you don’t have to totally cut out everything that makes Thanksgiving great just to enjoy a healthier holiday this year. Here are five simple tips for making the most of the day without overdoing it.

Start with Realistic Expectations

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that Thanksgiving only comes around once a year. For most people, the portion sizes and food selections seen on Thanksgiving would be otherwise incompatible with their everyday diet — and that’s OK.

Before you ever get your first helping, set some realistic expectations about what you want to eat and what you’ll try to avoid. We say “realistic” because we know how hard it’ll be to resist a piece of pumpkin pie or an extra serving of mashed potatoes. Do your best to avoid poor eating choices, but no matter what, don’t let one day of indulgence ruin your healthy eating habits altogether.

Eat Breakfast Beforehand

It might seem like a good idea to skip breakfast altogether on Thanksgiving to save your calorie intake for the big meal later in the day, but that may actually make you more prone to overindulgence.

When you wake up on Thanksgiving Day, eat a light, nutritious breakfast as you normally would. And if you get hungry a little bit later before Thanksgiving dinner, don’t be afraid to grab a healthy snack. By getting enough to eat throughout the day, you’ll be far more likely to enjoy more reasonable portion sizes later.

Look for Lighter Ingredients

If you’re going to be helping out with preparing the food for everyone, you’ll have a good opportunity to make the meal healthier for everyone. When possible, try substituting some of the more high-calorie ingredients in your recipes with lighter options. It could be as simple as using a lower-calorie alternative to butter in your baked items or as intense as swapping mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower. Either way, the little things you do when you put together your menu can add up in a big way at mealtime.

Load up the Veggies

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving is about big appetites. Unfortunately, satisfying that appetite with things like mashed potatoes, stuffing, or desserts comes with the price of an extraordinary amount of calories.

It’s okay to eat a little bit more than you’re used to on Thanksgiving, but you can limit the number of calories you eat by opting for nutrient-rich sides such as green beans, asparagus, carrots, baby corn, and squash. Load up your plate with these non-starchy vegetables — they’re filling, they’re tasty, and they’re far better for you than most dishes served on Thanksgiving.

Get Moving

With football on TV and plenty of food to enjoy, the temptation to stay on the couch is real. Fight the temptation and get to the gym for a quick workout or take part in one of Maryland’s many “turkey trots” before Thanksgiving dinner. Or you can go for a brisk walk after you’re done eating with your family.

It’s not just about burning calories because there are so many health benefits of exercise. Just do what you can to add some extra movement into your day so that you can enjoy a guilt-free Thanksgiving.

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