Staying healthy during the holidays can be tough. It’s the season of great food, flu, cold weather, and darker days. With it also being a busy time of year, it can be more difficult to make good choices. Keep reading to see ways adults and children alike can benefit by staying healthy during the holidays.
Tips for Staying Healthy During the Holidays
Healthy Eating Habits
Keep your distance from the snack tables to avoid mindlessly grabbing and eating.
Wait 10 minutes before going up to grab seconds. This will give you time to feel that you are full.
Take stock of the options before getting in line. Knowing what you want will keep you from adding excess food to your plate.
Add Color to the Plate
Make sure you include plenty of fruits and vegetables during holiday meals.
Keep a Normal Eating Pattern
When accustomed to certain patterns of eating, it’s important to stick to them during the holiday break. Eating light throughout the day in order to binge on holiday meals leads to overeating and disrupting eating patterns.
Avoid Shopping While Hungry
Grocery stores are putting their desserts and sweets front and center for the holidays. When shopping on an empty stomach it will be more enticing to pick up extra food, especially those with high sugar content, that you don’t need.
Focus on Family and Friends
During holiday gatherings, make a point to focus on the people there. Start conversations, initiate games to play, or do another activity. Keeping your attention on those around you will help reduce boredom and snacking.
Watch Your Portions
At holiday meals, it’s best to be mindful about how much of each dish you’re taking. Take smaller than normal portions of each option since there are usually more dishes present at holiday meals.
Fight Off Germs
Ensure Handwashing is Frequent
Making sure you and your children are keeping up with frequent hand washing is crucial to keep from getting sick. Especially if there’s food being prepared. Remember that proper hand washing includes lathering for 20 seconds before rinsing.
Cold and flu season has been more intense these past few years. Now COVID-19 cases are expected to rise during the winter season too. Keeping up to date on vaccinations and boosters will provide the antibodies kids and adults need to fight off these illnesses. With more illnesses at play, it’s especially important to make sure your body is prepared to fight off these viruses.
Sharing isn’t Always Caring
Avoid sharing utensils and other objects that go near the face to reduce the spread of germs.
Encourage Kids to Stay Active
New toys and games to play can encourage kids and teens to sit in one place for extended periods of time. Encourage them to stay active with planned family outings to walk through the snowy landscape, go sledding, or go visit a local gym for a game of basketball.
Read Back to Basics: Toys without Screens▸
Make a Point to Move
Many can set a good example by taking the initiative to move. Announcing you’re going for a walk at a family event may encourage others to join you. Either way, it will feel good to move and can set a positive example for children.
Beat the Winter Chill
Wear the Proper Gear
On the Road. The brisk winter weather is something to be prepared for. When traveling, make sure you bring along warm clothes even if you don’t need to wear them. In the case of a breakdown, you won’t be able to rely on the vehicle’s heating system.
Going Outdoors. It’s better to be prepared. When going out make sure you have a coat and accessories like a hat, scarf, and gloves to keep warm.
Being Active Outdoors. When going outdoors to be active, it can get too hot from a lot of activity and quickly too cold when not being active. These are the cases where it’s important to dress in layers. Layers can easily be removed and re-worn as needed.
Support Mental Wellness
The holidays and dark days can bring stress and the winter blues. Make an effort to reduce stress and take care of yourself. Sunlight and exercise are great for boosting mood. Taking deep breaths or meditating in times of stress can reduce the holiday drama.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Feeling stressed or unwell? Getting lots of sleep can do great things for the body. It can strengthen your immune system, give you more energy, and make you less vulnerable to stress.
Residential fires occur most frequently in the colder months. Don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, candles, or stovetop cooking left unattended.
Snow and ice make road conditions dangerous. Make sure seat belts are being worn and you have a winter weather emergency kit on hand.
Read Tips for Teen Drivers ▸
Read Car Seats and Coats: Know the Risks ▸
Read Are You Using Car Seats Correctly? ▸
Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard Medical School, Nemours Kids Health, Children’s Health.