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Healthy Holidays

December 7, 2015
Brianna Laurila , MOV Parent

The holiday season is a great time for family, friends and food. During this food-filled time of year, it is important to keep little ones on the right track to eat healthy throughout the holiday season. It may seem difficult to do this with all of the sweets and treats at holiday parties and celebrations. However, there are simple ways to make sure children avoid overloading on sugary holiday munchies.

When attending or hosting holiday events, it is important to ensure children are getting the right nutrition to promote healthy growth.

One way to accomplish this is to make sure children are receiving a variety of foods from each of the five food groups. When meal time comes around, remind children to fill their plates with whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, low-fat or fat-free dairy and whole grains. These foods provide children with essential vitamins and minerals needed for them to grow and develop.

Plus, these healthier options give children the opportunity to fill-up on nutritious food, leaving less room for sugary treats! Offer water in place of juices, sodas or other sugar-sweetened beverages. This will help hydrate their little bodies and minds throughout the holiday season.

When heading to a party where appetizers and desserts are the only options, provide children with a substantial snack before heading out. As caregivers, we want children to enjoy the holidays and the delicious food that comes along with the season. However, when children fill up on sugary desserts, they miss out on the nutrients they need to thrive. If you are not aware of what will be offered, pack simple snacks such as apple slices with natural peanut butter, whole-grain crackers and low-fat cheese slices, or carrots sticks and hummus.

Along with eating healthy throughout the holiday season, it is important that children stay active during this joyous time of year. Being physically active allows children to build strong muscles and bones, develop gross motor skills and continue proper growth.

Remember to aim for at least 60 minutes of play every day. Some ways to keep your family active during the holidays include raking leaves, shoveling snow, building snowmen, going sledding or even dancing and playing to holiday music in your home.

Keep your family healthy and happy by making holiday celebrations count!

Brianna Laurila is a dietetic intern for The Ohio State University and Children's Hunger Alliance.



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