Tips, Tools and Activities
The holidays are upon us! It may seem difficult to stay healthy during this time of year when our lives get even busier. We may get anxious when we think of shopping for wrapping gifts, decorating the home, planning for holiday goodies and meals, and coordinating around everyone's schedules. However, this time of year does not have to be so stressful. Here are some tips to keep the anxiety at bay so you can enjoy this holiday season to the fullest.
- It's okay to say no. Sometimes we try to please everyone and forget to take care of ourselves. Say no at least once and make that time about the family having fun.
- Get outdoors. With the days growing shorter, the sun only comes out for a small period of time. Experiencing some sunlight may help you feel better. Take family walks during the day. Physical activity helps increase endorphins and will help reduce stress levels.
- Laugh. Laughing helps reduce stress hormones. Go to a funny movie or head a comedy comedy club for live entertainment with the family. Don't have enough time? Watch a short comedy clip on your smartphone as a family.
Healthy Substitutions: The holiday season can be the most difficult time to stick to your healthy eating plan. Eating for your health does not have to be challenging during the holiday season. Create healthier versions of the holiday classics. Use fruit purees such as applesauce instead of oil in cakes, brownies, breads, or muffins. Use egg whites or egg substitutes to replace whole eggs in a recipe. Use 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 Tbsp. margarine instead of unsweetened baking chocolate. Use fat-free milk, yogurt, sour cream, or cream cheese instead of their whole-fat counter parts. Be sure to involve the kids in the baking and cooking process. Making holiday meals as a family is a great way to create favorite holiday memories!
Play Every Day
Family Fun in the Fall: Take advantage of this crisp and colorful fall season outdoors with the family. Plan a hike or nature walk and explore the beautiful fall colors together, go on nightly family walks or bike rides, turn raking into a fun activity- build leaf forts, jump into the leaf piles, or make it a family contest to see who can pick up their leaf piles the fastest. Family bonding through fun and healthy outdoor activities is an excellent way to make sure that everyone maintains a healthy and active lifestyle.
Q: How can I keep my family from gaining weight over the holiday season?
A: While we want to keep our family healthy over the holiday season, we also want to enjoy the holiday traditions that often are connected to food. Remember, grown-ups are the gatekeepers of their children's nutrition. Ensure your family has had some fruits and veggies before enjoying a holiday "sometime" food together. Serve enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and lean protein to meet everyone's daily needs. Sometimes if a food is over-restricted we may over-eat these foods later in life. We want to model healthy behaviors and provide our children with an opportunity to practice managing holiday foods and beverages. This will be a skill that lasts a lifetime.
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