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12/19/17blog post

8 tips for healthy holiday eating

We celebrate many things during the holiday season. And, if you think about it, food is always present.  The National Institute of Health reported that during the holiday season, people usually gain 1-2 pounds.  (Good news: not the 5-10 pound gains many of us think!)  My message is NOT to give “permission” to eat, drink and be merry this holiday without some added planning. The alarming finding: the 1-2 pound gains each winter holiday season linger and accumulate over the years, contributing to the overweight and obesity epidemic. 

But, how do we help our children to eat healthy during the holiday season?

  1. Stay active: as the cold draws nearer, keep moving even if you find yourselves inside. Dance to music, play Wii Fit, incorporate fitness moves into Simon Says. Bundle up and go outside, too.  Rake leaves and shovel snow with the kids.  Go for a Fall/Winter hike or the zoo.
  2. Maintain a schedule for the kids: try your best to get the nap in if you still are on a napping schedule. Be aware of how late the kids stay up and sleep in.
  3. Eat healthy:  Remember to eat breakfast, lunch and supper meals throughout the holiday.  
  4. Don’t go to a party hungry: Know what time the eating begins.  Plan the children’s meals around that.  If the party will start late, maybe consider a snack for the kids.  We have, many a time, given the kids a snack before heading to a get together, knowing they will not eat much once there because they would rather play.  If the party food will be the children’s meal, tell them this. 
  5. Bring a healthy dish: bring a dish (or 2) you and your children would like to eat and share.  This way, you know the children will have a familiar (and healthy) food to choose.
  6. Stay hydrated: Remember to bring water and sugar free beverages for the kids.
  7. Out of sight, out of mind: keep holiday treats out of sight and bring out at meal and snack times.  Cut portions smaller if possible.
  8. Consider bringing a child-friendly activity to the party to get the kids (and maybe adults) up and moving.  I enjoy the after dinner walks with my sisters.

The holidays are full of giving thanks and spending time with loved ones.  Remember to give thanks for your health, too!