Avoid festive fallout over kids' health

Tis the season to be merry and not morbidly obese at least. With trick and treat candies long gone and Thanksgiving feasting round the corner for some, not to mention the upcoming indulgence of the end-of-year party season, it's easy for this time of year to create a festive fallout over kids' health. And it's up to parents to give children something healthy to celebrate rather than allowing their kids to become weighed down with a weight problem that could last well into 2014.

Keeping junk food and candies away from kids can be a constant battle for parents. Marketeers devise campaigns to lure youngsters toward sugary snacks which might be great as a rare treat, but are often packed full of dietary badness. It's understandable that in times of stress and when family life is hectic, that grown-ups, despite their good intentions, end up sometimes going for the easy eating option which is often not the most nutritious.

Surrounded by goodies in the holidays, it can take military style precision to combat the calorie-rich foods which kids aim for. Add in a TV, games and computers and you have a recipe for disaster. With a few simple strategies this festive season can be a healthy holiday.

  • Limit stocks: If you don't buy junk then kids won't eat it. Or they won't eat as much for sure. Have you noticed that as soon as you think about the holidays you feel hungry for all the foods that you associate with this time of year? The supermarkets are stocked with gourmet delights and each year the choice seems to get bigger in every way. Make a list, stick to it and never go food shopping when you are hungry. Buy a few treats to make the holiday feel special, but ration them.

  • Baking class: Youngsters love cooking and it's great to celebrate the holidays with a home-cooked cake, or a special meal. Let kids bake a healthy version of a festive favorite or make a healthy but creative snack. Not only is this a great way to keep youngsters entertained in the holidays but a positive way for them to bond with parents too.

  • Season of goodwill: The festive season is a good opportunity to feel not just the warmth of family but of the whole community. From getting involved with a local charity, to helping neighbors or groups of people in need, there are lots of activities that can help others. Encourage children to think about other people and make charitable acts fun, whether it's organizing a charity garage sale to a sponsored walk.

  • Luxury items: Nobody wants a wilting salad or an everyday TV dinner for a special get-together. In creating a healthier festive season, you can still appreciate a little indulgence. While serving up healthy dishes, let kids choose three festive luxuries. These don't have to be expensive but should be special enough to make youngsters feel they are being treated and to add to the sense of occasion. This might be one wonderful chocolate treat to save for a certain date.

  • Seasonal supplies: Shopping locally and seasonally can inspire new menu ideas during this time of year. Forget all-year supermarket produce. Get kids involved with shopping and wherever possible try to visit farmer's markets, local shops and organic food stores. They can pick fruits and vegetables and come up with menu ideas too.

  • Creative cards, gifts & decorations: Take a step back from the consumerism and throwaway elements of the season and modern life in general. Give kids the task of creating decorations for the home. With a little planning they could also design more personalized cards and presents that really mean something. This is a good way for them to understand the value of money and have a healthy attitude toward it and it also gets them engaged and actively involved in using their own imaginations.

  • Family and friend walks: While it might not always be possible, get out and about on foot. Once you're dressed in the right way for the weather there's nothing stopping you walking to visit friends and family, if they live locally. If they are further afield then why not go for a walk when you get there and explore a new area with your kids too? What about reaching out to neighbors or people in the community? With everybody jumping in their cars every time they go out the house, walking can give you a healthy, fresh perspective.

Get kids involved in sports, activities and leisure pursuits so that they don't begin 2014 unfit, unhealthy and overweight!

Published with permission from FitnessAdvisory. Source.

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