The holiday season is upon us and can make it difficult to maintain the healthy eating habits that your child may have established earlier in the year. On average, people gain about 1 to 3 pounds during the six weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Extra pounds can add up over time and eventually lead to health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increase in blood sugar, diabetes and more.
If your child reverts to unhealthy eating habits during the holidays, it can be challenging to get back to good food choices again in the new year. Making sure that you and your child continue to practice healthy behaviors throughout the holidays will help to establish healthier choices year-round. Follow these tips to help you and your children enjoy the season in a healthy way:
- Keep normal eating patterns. It can be easy for your child’s routine to get off-track. If your child usually eats three meals a day and snacks, try to keep it consistent. Don’t eat light throughout the day to binge on your favorite holiday dishes. Keeping a normal eating schedule helps to keep hunger at bay and allow time to enjoy holiday treats without overeating.
- Portion control. Keep portions small, eat slowly and pay attention to your body. For many, the holidays are a time to overindulge. Remember to stop eating when full. If you feel like you are about to burst, you have eaten too much.
- Make food prep fun. The holidays can be the perfect time to include your kids in the preparations of their favorite dishes. This can help to teach them about healthier substitutions.
- Add plenty of vegetables. Choosing more vegetable-based dishes can help reduce the amount of calories consumed during the holidays.
- Organize family activity. Plan a post-meal walk around the block or a visit to the park. Adding even a little physical activity into your holiday is a good way to keep up healthy habits and enjoy quality time together.
For more information and healthy holiday tips, visit kids.mountnittany.org.
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