It doesn't seem possible that the 2017 holiday season is upon us, but according to the calendar... here we are! For families that are trying to work on better eating habits, those weeks between Thanksgiving and the end of December can be CHALLENGING!
For starters, kids often have holiday parties at school with cookies, chips and LOTS of sugary drinks. Some kids are even given treat bags full of candy so they can continue celebrating at home. Then there are the huge holiday meals that can leave us feeling STUFFED if we over-do it.
That two week break from school can also be a challenge when it comes to staying on track with good eating habits. Some kids stay up very late and sleep in the next morning (which can translate to random late night snacking and skipping out on breakfast). The whole eating schedule may easily be thrown off over the holidays.
Here are a few tips to help you enjoy the holidays and the special foods... while still keeping up with healthy habits:
While an OCCASIONAL party at school with cup cakes, chips, candy and sugary fruit punch or soda is fine, it's great when teachers set limits (sparkling water instead of the sugary drinks for example). Consider speaking to your child's teacher about setting limits for the whole class.
Who doesn't love a huge feast with favorite holiday foods that we just don't get at other times of the year?! Try to be choosy: first scope out the foods and decide what you REALLY want to eat. Also pay attention to things that are just "OK" and that you would be willing to skip out on. Serve your plate with reasonable portions of your "must have" foods and enjoy! Eat slowly and try to appreciate every delicious bite. Then instead of going back for more, try waiting a few hours until you are actually HUNGRY again.
Help your kids find ways to keep busy while home from school over the holiday break. When boredom strikes, many kids EAT simply for something to do.
1) Read (consider a trip to the local library to bring home some book treasures)
2) Have a family dance party: this can happen at any time of the day. Simply put on some music and move!
3) Clean out a closet together.
4) Go out for a walk.
5) Have a "sock battle" (simply ball up several pairs of socks and try to dodge any that are thrown your way!)
Remember that our health has EVERYTHING to do with those day-to-day choices we make. Getting a bit off track for a day or two is NOT going to un-do all of our good efforts to be healthy.