Healthy Holiday Habits
Photo from Alicia Jones via unsplash.com
Winter break… what kid doesn’t LOVE the idea of sleeping in a bit and forgetting about homework for a few days? Many kids are excited (even GIDDY) at this time of year!
Consider the following tips for a fun and relaxing vacation from school, complete with delicious holiday favorites… without totally ditching healthy habits!
What’s not to love about holiday food and feasting at this amazing time of year?! As a parent it is understandable to want your child to stick with healthy eating habits over the holidays. Avoid over-policing though at special meals. This includes resisting the urge to call your child out in front of others about the amount or type of food on their plate. Relax. This is ONE meal. Your child’s health has EVERYTHING to do with day-to-day eating habits, so try not to over-think the impact of special meals and desserts.
Many parents have noticed a LOT of extra snacking going on when their kids are on a break from school. That combination of being home without a schedule, along with having special treats lying around can result in random, unplanned, between meal “grazing”.
Here are some important things to keep in mind when it comes to snacking:
Eat a snack only in response to actual hunger
It’s easy to confuse hunger with something else such as boredom or stress.BEFORE putting food into our mouth, it’s really important to do a quick “check – in” to make sure that we are in fact hungry.
If the hunger is real, then eat a snack
Not just any snack will do though! Don’t confuse “treat” with “snack”.A snack consists of real food that is carefully chosen to satisfy hunger before the next meal:think of raw veggies and humus OR a handful of sunflower seed kernels OR apple slices with peanut butter.On the other hand, potato chips, cookies and holiday fudge count as treats.It’s OK to include a treat on some days… having the treat as a dessert or alongside the meal (instead of eating it between meals) helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
If it ISN’T real hunger, then DON’T eat a snack
Instead of eating when not hungry, immediately do something else.It doesn’t matter what… the important thing is NOT to eat. Draw a picture of what you see outside OR do a minute’s worth of jumping jacks OR sing your favorite holiday song all the way through. Chances are that the urge to eat will be long forgotten!
Sure it’s OK to sleep a little later during the holidays… to a point. The day can quickly slip by though if we don’t roll out of bed before noon! Sleeping the entire morning away during break makes it SO much harder once those early morning school buses start rolling again in January.
Recess, PE classes, brisk walks for class changes and taking the stairs… these are some of the built – in opportunities that kids have for physical activity during the school day. Don’t stop moving over the holiday break! Bundle up and go for a cold weather walk. When it isn’t possible to be outside consider fun You Tube action videos (dancing, kick boxing, yoga, etc.). Also check out this website from the University of Texas for other fun ways to be active indoors: https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/february-2016/8-ways-to-help-your-kids-get-exercise-indoors.html
Just for fun… try this colorful and delicious broccoli salad. What isn’t eaten with the holiday meal may be enjoyed later as a snack!
Broccoli Apple Salad
Recipe adapted from The Recipe Critic / Photo from: http://therecipecritic.com
4 cups fresh broccoli, chopped into bite sized pieces (florets and part of stalk)
½ cup shredded carrots
¼ cup diced red onion
2 medium apples (gala, honey crisp, red delicious, etc.), finely chopped
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (NOT fat free)
2 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
In a large bowl, combine broccoli, carrots, red onion, apples, pecans and dried cranberries.
To make the dressing: whisk together mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, sugar, salt and pepper.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.