Guest post from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The holiday season is a magnificent time of year, but it can also be challenging for families trying to eat healthy and stay physically active. Between family gatherings, parties, lots of food and traveling, healthy habits can get left in the cold. But the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, has tools and tips to help families stay healthy and physically active while still enjoying the holiday season.
Think Healthy Thoughts
Spend time before the holidays planning healthy snacks, appetizers, meals, and desserts to prepare. Make a grocery list and stick to it. Whether you are a host or guest, be the one to create healthy alternatives to the typically not-so-healthy holiday menu.
Snack, Don’t Skip
Just like any other day, you shouldn’t skip meals during the holidays. It is not a good approach to cut calories by cutting meals from the day. Not eating breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner may lead to overeating at holiday meal times. Keep normal eating times and if you do happen to skip a meal try to snack on healthy foods to keep you from starving and then stuffing.
Don’t Forget Rest
Don’t forget to add sleep and relaxation to the holiday to-do list. Staying well rested not only provides an extra boost of energy, it also helps keep you from overstuffing yourself. Studies have shown that lack of sleep directly affects the amount of energy you have, your appetite, and your ability to maintain a healthy weight; in fact, getting enough sleep can decrease your chances of becoming overweight.
Stay Physically Active
Don’t use the holidays or the cold weather as an excuse. Even if you are traveling you can find new ways to engage in activities alone or with family and friends. This time of year is the perfect time to try out something new like ice skating, or head to your local indoor pool or basketball court for some fun.
Rock the Halls
With the holiday season also comes lots of fun music, so get the family physically active by turning up those holiday tunes and dancing—anything that keeps the kids moving and having fun. If it’s impossible to pry your family away from those holiday TV specials, encourage them to do jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups during commercial breaks.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org
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