It’s so common to view holiday feasting as a fantastic event, but one that often results in dreaded weight gain. It doesn’t have to be that way for your family! There are ways to have fun eating and burning calories, and keeping you happy and healthy during and after the holiday festivities.
Before the Blast Off
A great way to charge up everyone’s appetite is to take an early-day walk or run. Check to see if there are any Family Fun Runs in your area. It’s a terrific way for everyone to be together and get some exercise before becoming eating machines.
Another thing that’s beneficial about participating together in a morning activity is that it lends to mutual conversation later in the day. “Wasn’t it funny when Joey ran past the finish line and didn’t know the race was over?”
Movin’ and Groovin’ Before and After
If you’re already an active family, then you’ve probably got a lot of the usual activities on your list. Before (or after) the travel, cooking, or eating, you can take a group bike ride, play some ultimate Frisbee, flag-football, volleyball, or tennis, to name a few sports. These activities require a minimum amount of equipment but pack a large punch of fun.
Getting the body moving is what matters most. Any exercise is beneficial. If you’re in a cold or snowy area, your outdoor playtime might be limited; however, you may have access to other activities like snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding.
Indoors you can indulge in a classic game of Twister, play ping-pong, volleyball with a balloon, practice some yoga, freeze dance, or musical chairs. There really is no end to the fun you can have with your group as long as you keep it playful. It’s not a time for competition; it’s about sharing the joy of movement and amusement.
During Mealtime Be Mindful
Sure, everything is incredibly delicious. Especially that wacky strawberry marshmallow ambrosia. Oh, and that chocolate pecan pie. And we can’t forget those candied yams! It’s definitely not a day to deny yourself. However, you don’t need to engorge in order to enjoy.
In fact, you’ll most definitely feel better afterwards (body and mind) if you ate in moderation. Be mindful of everything you’re putting in your mouth. Normally, you may not intake as much sugar. It’s OK to allow yourself a day off. But, remember that your body will have a reaction to what you put in it.
These types of feasts are a great way to model mindful eating for our children. Take a little of everything if you like it all. But your plate doesn’t need to be piled-up, mile-high. One small scoop of mashed potatoes will be just as satisfying as if you took six. And then go ahead, add a little gravy.
If your family practices healthy eating and exercise as conscious, daily, lifestyle choices, then “the holidays” won’t eat you alive. You will automatically be more mindful of what you eat, how much, and how you’ll work in some movement before or after. And the best part is that you won’t feel denied, but rather treated. Here’s to being thankful for family —and cheat days! Check out Thrive for more family fun tips!