Have a Happy, Healthy Holiday
Gingerbread houses, sugary cookies, pumpkin pies and chocolate coins. There is no shortage of sweet foods available during the holiday season, and with so many temptations around, it’s hard to help your kids make healthy choices. But there are some things you can do to make sure your child doesn’t go overboard during the holidays.
Try these tactics for taming temptation:
- Pack healthy snacks. Taking a trip to the grandparents or going on vacation? Make sure you have healthy nibbles along. You can always bring pre-packaged containers of carrots and dip or apples and peanut butter. Pretzels, popcorn, snack bars, dried fruit and granola are also much better than chips, cheese puffs or cookies.
- Teach good habits. No matter how many holiday cookies your kids eat, they probably won’t experience the extra pounds of weight a typical adult may gain over the holidays. But it’s never too soon to teach kids how to cope with holiday abundance. Be a role model and involve them in planning for healthy eating.Emphasize the deliciousness of holiday poultry, meat dishes and vegetable sides instead of elevating the importance of sugary treats.
- Up the exercise. A brisk walk not only burns calories and improves mood, it can be a great opportunity for quality time with your kids. Games of outdoor football and soccer are also great ways to stay fit. Too cold out? Turn up the volume on the radio and dance, jump rope or play indoor games.
- Eat healthy appetizers. Snacking on vegetables and dip, whole grain crackers or other healthy options before a big meal can keep children — and adults — from overeating.
- Create the plate. Show your kids how to fill up plates from the buffet line. Two-thirds should be vegetables/fruits and starchy carbohydrates. Only one-third should be proteins (meat, beans and legumes).
- Take minutes before seconds. It takes your brain a bit to register that you are full. Wait 10 to 15 minutes before heading up for seconds.
Reviewed by: Patrick S. Pasquariello Jr., MD
Date: November 2012