The holiday season is here! An exciting and fun time, it’s also a time of a lot of JUNK! From cookies to cakes to candies to hot chocolate, it’s no wonder why everyone wants a fresh start in January. Not just about food, the holidays are a season of connection, traditions, giving, and family. This has been forgotten as the season has gotten more commercial. Below, we’re sharing 5 ways for you and your family to have a healthy — and junk-free holiday.
- Find alternatives to unhealthy dishes: There are so many options to popular dishes that are way better for your health. For Christmas dinner, try some of our favorite side dishes such as Butternut Squash Mash with Crispy Rosemary and Pecans, Stuffed Winter Butternut with Rice and Chestnuts, or Cashew Mac and Cheese with Broccoli. The important thing is to make eating fruits and vegetables the norm from the start so they always know it is something they should consume, no matter if it is the holidays or not.
- Donate or give back: At its core, the holidays are really about community and family. Give back to your kids by donating to a local charity or volunteering. This is a great way to help those in need and show them the value and importance of supporting those who have less.
- Limit junk: Junk food is everywhere over the holidays. From gingerbread houses to cookies to cakes to candy and puddings galore (there are even songs about it!). There are entire events surrounding food, which unfortunately doesn’t have a focus on healthy eating. Our tip: don’t have any junk food in the house. It is way too tempting for kids and makes it easy for them to get addicted.
- Reduce stress: The holidays can also be very stressful with all of the gift buying, events, and running around. When with the kids, make sure to maintain a state of calm and balance as they are watching your behavior and temperament. Make it a point to relax and enjoy calming activities such as mediation, reading, a family walk, or even deep breathing together.
- Get enough sleep: Our kids are very busy and often don’t get enough sleep during the week. During the holiday season, make it a point for them to wind down earlier than normal. Avoid screen time, late-night eating, and encourage them to spend the evening with a good book.
- Drink water: We are a dehydrated nation, and our kids are no exception. Water can improve energy levels, help with fatigue, and keep their growing bodies hydrated. Additionally, sometimes when kids crave junk, they might actually be thirsty or dehydrated! Opt for a tall glass of water instead of junk and feel the benefits! You can also enhance the flavor of water by adding in their favorite fruit slices for some added, natural flavors like orange or lemon.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
While this is an exciting time of year, it’s also one that revolves around unhealthy eating and junk food. It’s time for us all to flip the switch and bring back the true meaning of the holiday season.