The holiday season has officially arrived!
Over the next six weeks, our children will participate in holiday gatherings, parties, functions, and celebrations. There will be food, food, and more food! The average child will gain 1–3 pounds during the holiday season. This excessive weight gain in such a short amount of time can put unnecessary stress on a child’s body and cause:
- elevated blood sugar levels
- high cholesterol
- high fat (triglyceride) levels
- increase in blood insulin levels
7 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season
- Serve your child a snack of fruits and vegetables before attending holiday parties. Feeling a little full on fiber will help prevent excessive party eating.
- Make a ground rule that water will be the only liquid consumed at gatherings. Juices, sodas, and punch are full of sugar and excessive calories. Consider adding some club soda and a slice of fruit into your child’s water to make the drink “special” without adding extra sugar and calories.
- Do not allow your child to skip breakfast. Many parents think that by skipping breakfast during the holidays, their child can save extra calories for later. However, this leads to a hungry child who will overeat and indulge on high fat and sugar foods.
- There will be lots of desserts. Don’t deprive your child from eating them but don’t overindulge either. Talk to your child before the party and allow them to pick two desserts they would like to try. Have them take a small serving of each and have fruit on their dessert plate, too.
- Plan a family physical activity to do either before or after the meal. Go on a walk. Rake and tumble in a pile of leaves. Play a game of family soccer or tag. Turn on holiday music and dance.
- Get your kids involved. Have them set the table, wash fruits and vegetables, arrange the platters, and make fun holiday decorations.
- Start a new family tradition. Holidays do not have to be all about food. Make it a new tradition to play board games, charades, Jenga, Twister, or cards. Challenge your family to come up with creative ideas.
Thinking ahead and talking to your family about keeping up with healthy habits during the holiday season will help avoid holiday weight gain and will keep your child’s immune system strong.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!