1. Stay active.
Being active is your secret weapon this holiday season. It can help make up for eating more than usual and has many other health benefits.
Walking is a great way to be active. Try these tips to incorporate more walking into your activities:
- Skip the search for a close-up parking spot. Park farther away and walk to your destination.
- Make a few extra laps around the mall. Walk the length of the mall before going into any stores. The mall is also a good place to walk to avoid bad weather.
- Start your work day by taking the stairs. Remember to stretch your legs and take short physical activity breaks throughout the day.
2. Eat healthy.
Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods even if they are high in calories, saturated fat, or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while or in small portions and balancing them out with healthier foods.
- If you are traveling this season, take healthy snacks along, like fruit and low-fat protein. That way, you can avoid the temptation of convenience foods high in fat, sugar, and salt.
- If your favorite home recipes call for fried fish or chicken with breading, try healthier baked or grilled variations. Maybe try a recipe that uses dried beans in place of higher-fat meats.
Resolve to make new habits. This year, while at parties and other gatherings, fill your plate with fruits and veggies first, and pick small portions of just your favorites of the other items.
3. Plan activities that don’t involve eating.
In addition to enjoying a meal with friends and family around the table, take the party outside!
- Try a seasonal activity with your family. Jump start your bucket list for the year.
- Make a “walk and talk” date with a friend or family member. Skip the Frappuccino and explore a part of your town or city that may be new to you.
- If the weather prevents you from heading outdoors, try mall-walking, or planning a family game night. Visit that museum, botanical garden, or exhibit you’ve been wanting to see.
Consider what new healthy traditions you can start this year. The possibilities are endless!
Better sleep leads to better performance. In the classroom, on the field, and in life. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Sleep Number campaign, Sleep Smarter. Perform Better. campaign, is designed to raise awareness about the importance of improving child and youth sleep. Visit HealthierGeneration.org/SmarterSleep to access free healthy sleep resources and fun activities for children of all ages.
Here are suggestions on how to let your children enjoy the treats of Halloween without going overboard.
According to dietitian and family therapist Ellyn Satter, author of “Child of Mine: Feeding With Love and Good Sense,” it’s fine to let kids have a few pieces of candy a day, either as dessert after a meal or as a sit-down snack. You can include a piece of candy in their lunch if they want.
Out of sight, out of mind. This holds true for kids and adults when it comes to food. Don’t let kids keep candy or other food in their rooms. Food stays in the kitchen, and the less healthy options should be hidden in a cupboard, not out on the counter for all to see (and grab mindlessly).
Have your kids pick out the candy they love and give away the rest. Learning to choose treats you really enjoy is an important part of healthy eating. You want your kids to savor and enjoy the treats they love rather than go for volume and not really take pleasure in what they’re eating.
When you talk about food with your kids, focus on making healthy choices rather than controlling weight. Research suggests that commenting on children’s weight can increase the likelihood of unhealthy dieting as well as binge eating and other eating disorders.
Think about how you want your family to approach food and treats, and consider the example you’re setting with your eating habits. Do your kids see you making your way to the candy bowl every night? Practice the same balanced food habits you want your kids to have as adults. I’m willing to bet you’ll all be healthier and happier as a result.
The countdown is on – Walk to School Day is only a week away! When kids walk to school, they improve their health, gain independence and confidence, and arrive at school ready to learn. On October 10, thousands of communities will join in with fun and safe Walk to School Day events that get families, teachers, city staff, and community members walking together, while educating children and families about the benefits of walking.
Check out the Safe Routes to School’s guide to planning your Walk to School Day event in four easy steps, and be sure to register your event on walkbiketoschool.org to make sure your efforts are counted as part of the national movement for walking and biking to school.
Learning how to form and sustain happy and healthy romantic relationships is a key skill for young adults. Such relationships are based on feelings of love, effective problem-solving, and the absence of physical and verbal violence. The ability to develop a healthy relationship can be influenced by the experiences people have had within their own families. However, the ways in which the family environment influences interpersonal skills and romantic relationships aren’t well understood.
A team of researchers led by Penn State graduate student Mengya Xia set out to explore how interpersonal skills and family factors affect romantic relationships. They examined data from a long-term study on preventing substance use among more than 10,000 youths in rural and semi-rural communities in Pennsylvania and Iowa. A randomly selected set of nearly 2,000 participated in a later follow-up project when they were young adults. For this analysis, the team included the 974 participants between 18 and 21 years old who were in a steady romantic relationship. The study was supported by NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The results were published in the July 2018 issue of Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
Read more from NIH Research Matters
Keep your children healthy and safe before the weather changes with these safety tips:
- Follow boating and pool rules, including wearing properly fitting life jackets.
- Wear and reapply sunscreen.
- Stay hydrated!
- Use bug spray to protect your kids from insect-transmitted diseases and irritation.
- Always check playground equipment for softness and faulty parts.
Get more tips to protect your children.