Associate Editor’s Note: Home, Hearth, and Health

If you're like me, this time of year can be a little perilous for your waistline. An abundance of holiday goodies, combined with shorter days that practically beg you to eat "comfort food," can derail much of the progress you've made toward health and fitness goals over the previous months.

And then there is the chance of getting a cold or the flu—talk about things that lend themselves to chowing down on comfort food and forgoing trips to the gym!

I certainly don’t hold myself out as a model for a perfect diet or the body of Adonis, but I've found that simply being conscious of the potential challenges ahead can help keep me from totally sabotaging myself, come the next swimsuit season. Keeping those thoughts in mind every day contributes to my ongoing portion control and a stubborn insistence on dragging myself to the gym as often as possible. Of course, it would be foolish and self-defeating to completely deny myself at least a few tastes of the special things—especially the sweet things—this time of year has to offer.

As you sit down to your holiday feasts, this issue of Food Insight wants to help you answer a few questions:

Of course, as we gather at our homes and around our hearths, science is often the last thing on our minds. But it's good to know that there are people working all year round to help support and educate the rest of us to make healthful choices about our diets and lifestyles.