Help Your Kids Have a Healthy Holiday Season

by SPARK


This week we’re excited to bring you a post by our guest-author, Andrea Hart, RD, CDN.


The holiday season is here and for most of us that means Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, New Year’s celebrations…which means food, food, and more food! Not to mention that with more to pack into our already busy schedules, who has time for exercise?

Keeping up with healthy habits has benefits for your whole body – like helping to avoid holiday weight gain, helping to fend off holiday stress and fatigue, and helping to keep your immune system strong. Many people give up on healthy habits during the holidays but with these tips you can teach your children how to stay healthy during this busy time of year.

Tips for healthy holiday eating:

  • Feed your children – and yourself – a light meal or snack before going to a holiday party. It’s harder to avoid overeating when you’re overly hungry.
  • Set a good example for children by eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with meals or as snacks.
  • Offer to bring a healthy, low-calorie dish to holiday parties so you’ll know that at least one healthy item will be available.
  • Teach your children to eat smaller portions of food, especially at a buffet, where they may want to try everything. Help them choose the items they want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each.
  • Sodas and other sweet drinks contain a lot of calories and many contain caffeine. For a healthier version of “soda” mix 100% fruit juice with club soda or seltzer.
  • The holiday season can keep you extra busy but try to avoid fast food – it may be handy, but is often high in fat and low in nutrition.

Tips for physical activity:

  • Do fall and winter chores with your kids – raking leaves, shoveling snow
  • Have fun together outside – go for a walk, tumble in the leaves, go sledding, build a snowman
  • Play games outside – soccer, football, Frisbee, catch
  • Go on an active family outing – ice skating, bowling, skiing
  • Limit TV watching – but when you do watch TV, get up and move instead of sitting during commercials
  • Turn on holiday music and dance around the house
  • Give gifts that encourage physical activity, like active games or sporting equipment

Andrea Hart, RD, CDN

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