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10 Ways to Help Your Family Stay Healthy During the Holidays

The month of December is a wonderful time to reconnect as a family and have some fun!  With all of the excitement and stress of the holidays, family gatherings, and parties, people are likely to eat more and exercise less.  How can you prevent this from happening to you and your family?  Here are some tips to help lessen the stress and save your waistline.

Goal:  This week, sit down as a family and plan out your holiday vacation.  Plan to make healthy food and time choices over the holidays.

  1. As a family sit down and plan out your holiday vacation on your family calendar. What obligations does each person have and what are some things you would like to do as a family?
  2. On your calendar, plan a few active family activities using ideas from
  3. If you are buying gifts for the holidays, have each person make a list of the gifts he/she wants to buy, and then set a goal date by which to have all shopping finished.
  4. Write down the times each person will exercise.
  5. Plan for, shop for, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  6. Eat healthy portion sizes by using smaller plates at meals.
  7. Drink water and fat-free milk as your beverages.
  8. Eat only fruits and vegetables as snacks before dinner.
  9. Take a family walk each day and look at the holiday decorations in your neighborhood.
  10. Plan what you will eat.  Before going to a party or family gathering, plan what size portions and what kinds of food you will eat.  You may even want to eat a variety of fresh vegetables before attending.  Remember to think about what you are eating and how much.  Now that you have a plan (even if your plan includes gravy and holiday cookies), enjoy what you are eating!

Now, after the holiday season, sit down as a family and talk about how the plan worked.  Were you less stressed during the holiday vacation?  Do you feel healthier?  Hopefully, because you did some planning, your family had more time to have fun together.

Carol Frazey is the author of The Fit School Newsletter, a 36-week newsletter with the goal of educating you and your family about nutrition and exercise.

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