The Holiday’s are a time of tradition, family, excitement, and togetherness. Many of our traditions center around food and, unfortunately, most of those foods are rich, fatty, and filled with sugar! And all that excitement, anticipation, and togetherness can bring with it a lot of stress! If you want to eat healthy, the holidays can be a difficult time. It’s no surprise that most of us consider it a foregone conclusion that we will add on a few extra pounds and wind up feeling fatigued and run down. And many parents dread the social and behavioral consequences that come from the sugar high’s and lows their kids experience during the celebrations.
The following are some tips to keep your family nourished so they feel confident and energized through the holidays!
- Get plenty of sleep and stay active - Losing sleep is associated with weight gain, and when we are tired we often turn to unhealthy foods for a quick boost. Sticking to a solid sleep schedule and getting your 8 hours will keep you on track!
- Never show up to a party hungry – before you leave for any celebration or gathering make sure to eat a small portion of a healthy dish. Think a large salad or helping of roasted root vegetables! This prevents the inevitable snacking that occurs while we socialize and wait for dinner to be served. Avoid eating that block of cheese and package of crackers by coming prepared and nourished!
- Bring a healthy item to pass around – Do some research and find a healthier option that reminds you of a holiday favorite! I find that my family loves trying a new twist on classic dish.
- Maintain regularly scheduled meals and snack times – if you allow your child (and yourself) to graze throughout the day they will have no appetite for wholesome food at a meal. Plus, meals are a great time to model healthy eating behaviors for your kids.
- Don’t stress about sugary temptations other people have provided– If you’ve been following these tips, you and your kids are well on the way to not overeating and you’re eating nutritious foods first. So don’t stress when your kids reach for the holiday cookies that your well-meaning relative provided. Allow your child to choose from what’s provided, including one or two sweets. Creating positive attitudes around food is the goal!
- Create new memories and holiday traditions that don’t center around food – As mentioned above, a lot of extra calorie consumption occurs before and after the holiday meal. Creating activities that happen outside the kitchen can provide a welcome distraction. After all, the time spent together and the connection of friends and family is the memory to be cherished – not the food! One way to do this could be to close the kitchen after a meal. Leave those dishes for later and instead plan a game that everyone can enjoy together!