Healthy Holiday Traditions

Most holidays have a big food emphasis.  It’s fine to enjoy the special treats associated with holidays but be sure to add some healthy food traditions as well.  Also play up some of the non-food aspects of the occasion.  For example, don't make Valentine's day just about candy.  Start a tradition of doing something kind for a neighbor that day.
Easter

Berries in the Basket

Put some fresh berries in your children’s Easter baskets.  Buy a box of strawberries, blueberries or raspberries and cut back a bit on the candy.  Divide the berries in small  plastic bags and tie a pastel ribbon around them.  Once you start this tradition your kids associate berries with Easter (as well as chocolate)!


Halloween

  • Bump up the nutritional quality of the meals and snacks to counter balance all the candy.  This is a good time to skip dessert and not bring any junky snacks into the house. Serve a few more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  When we’re well nourished we’re less likely to go crazy on the sweets.
  • Encourage some extra toothbrushing this week.
  • When kids are sorting their candy, encourage them to pitch the stuff they don’t like.
  • Thinking in terms of energy balance, encourage your children to be a little more active this week to burn off some of the extra calories from candy.  Rake leaves and jump in them.  Take a walk to look at the changing leaves.  Bring a new toy into the house—a Phlat ball (changes from a flying disc to a ball in mid air), a hula hoop or a jump rope.
  • Don’t let the kids keep their Halloween candy bag in their rooms. Put it in a kitchen cabinet.  Out of sight, out of mind.
  • Come up with some family guidelines.  One suggested guideline: no Halloween candy until after they’ve had a good lunch or breakfast.  (More suggestions for handling Halloween candy.)
  • Draw Jack-o-latern faces on clementines (little seedless tangerines) with a Sharpie.