My kids love the holidays. Adore the holidays. Fantasize about the holidays. Not just for the presents, which of course are the centerpiece, but for the treats that we always seem to have around. The cookies, cakes and fudge that seem to magically appear and multiply, the junk foods that we seem to rely on just a little more due to overwhelming busyness – the holidays are a treacherous tightrope of dieting pitfalls. Mention making your holiday eating healthier, though, and you are apt to get a backlash from your family. How can you help your family have a more healthy holiday without ruining the enjoyment for everyone?
- Most importantly, model healthy behavior. If you are busy scarfing down the sugar cookies, it’s difficult for your children to be happy with a plate of carrot sticks. Make great choices for yourself and your kids will follow suit.
- Plan ahead. Before attending a party, give your kids a healthy snack – cut up apples, string cheese, a serving of almonds. They are less likely to overindulge if they’ve had a snack. Also, bring a dish to share like a fruit salad or a veggie tray. Kids will eat healthy snacks if they are presented with them.
- Increase activity. Time off from school and work is a perfect time to exercise together as a family. If weather permits, why not take a walk on the beach or a hike through the woods? Have access to an indoor pool? Swim relay races. Go to a track and race each other, ride bikes or play Wii, a guaranteed heart pumping activity.
- Do you have a must-have treat? Go ahead and make the sugar cookies that everyone looks forward to, eat one or two yourself, and then pack up the rest for your mailman, trash collector or UPS delivery guy. A little treat isn’t bad – just don’t overdo it.
- Last, have your children help you in the kitchen. Cooking healthy meals together gives you teaching moments, helps create bonding opportunities and can leave your children with lessons that will last a lifetime.