IDEAS TO SEND HOME
Every month Erica and her family read the Healthy Family Home newsletter. The fun tips, tools and activities inside inspire them to make healthy habits part of their daily routine.
We can all recycle the paper after we open our gifts, but what about using recycled materials to create our own unique giftwrap! Have a family huddle to discuss all the creative ways you can use recycled materials for your package and giftwrap this month. For example, a paper shopping bag can be an open canvas for your children to decorate and create custom wrapping paper. Start with a brown paper shopping bag, cut along one of the folds to construct a flat sheet of paper, then kids can decorate as they please. Turn old shoe and cereal boxes into containers to package your handcrafted artwork and gifts, wrap in your beautiful new wrapping paper and leave your family and friends guessing what is inside.
This season provides an excellent opportunity to role model being confident with your food choices, especially when these choices include creating healthier dishes and providing healthier foods for your family. Be honest with your kids; share how, even as a parent, you feel it may be easier, or less of a ‘hassle’, to choose a less healthy option. Encourage them to take smaller portions and explain how this may make them feel better after eating. Agree to taste new foods together; give everyone a say when choosing new samples and remind them that it may take up to 20 tastes before they love it. There are thousands of different types of fruits and vegetables in the world, so each new day, week, or month provides an exciting opportunity to learn about something new. Give your family the gift of learning how to make the healthy choice the easiest choice and have fun doing so.
It's time to layer up! Layer your clothing and get outside this month. Being active out of doors this time of year can provide your family with a new way to celebrate the festivities. Take a family walk before mealtime and look for creative holiday decorations. Have each person pick their favorite and share what they like about the decorations. Keep your cold weather essentials (i.e. layering clothing, hat, gloves, gator, mittens, boots,) easily accessible so that getting ready to go outside and be active is a quick and simple process. Examine the weather forecast with your children and together plan for the next family event to embrace the winter wonderland that awaits you.
How can my family enjoy holiday treats while keeping our healthier food choices top of mind?
Enjoy holiday foods in moderation. Plan ahead and be selective with your choices at parties and family events. Ensure that your family has had a small meal that included some fruit, a veggie, and a lean protein before savoring a special holiday choice. Sneak food substitutions into your favorite holiday baked goods recipes; no one will taste the difference. For example, use 1/3 less sugar than what the recipe calls for, try using fresh fruit spread/sauce in place of fats or as a sweetener, use low-fat cream, milk or other dairy products. When you are the baker, make smaller portions; try using mini cookie cutters. Think about how your family can make holiday treats about more than food; celebrate family time with cuddles and snuggles while watching a holiday movie.
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The YMCA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.