Many of us look forward to the holidays all year long because of the timeless and fun family traditions that come along with them. But sometimes those family traditions, like making dozens upon dozens of sugary Christmas cookies, can negatively impact our healthy lifestyles. Check out these healthy family traditions below; you may already partake in some of them, or you could start a new tradition or two this year!
Turkey Trot: We know that Thanksgiving is already over, but why not put this one in your back pocket for next year? You can kick off the holiday season with a healthy 5K! Plus, you won’t feel so bad about that big Thanksgiving dinner later on!
Forest preserve walk: Fitness trainer Susanna Kalnes suggests taking the kids and hubby on a walk through a forest preserve or state park near you. You can walk miles through the beautiful snowy scenery and the kids can have fun exploring!
Eat a healthy holiday breakfast: Kalnes also suggests eating a healthy breakfast on days like Christmas when you know you’re going to be eating lots of food. “Knowing that big, unhealthy meals are to pursue later in the day, [Kalnes’ family] typically eat oatmeal for breakfast,” Kalnes said. “Oatmeal is healthy, but also keeps you fuller longer, which is a great way to ease up on the binge eating in the evening.”
>> Read more: Skinny Mom Guide to Oatmeal
Reindeer Games: If you live by a Life Time Fitness Club, you can participate in their annual Reindeer Games! Geared toward health-minded families, the Reindeer Games consist of fun activities like a snowball toss, gift-stacking relays, a penguin waddle race and antler decorating! They even have healthy snacks readily available! Click here for more info.
Cook healthy meals with your kids: Include your kids in your healthy holiday meals! The little ones can gather ingredients while the older kids can help you prepare the food. Click here to see some healthy holiday meal options.
Bowling: Who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned bowling outing? The kids will love knocking down all the pins, and you’ll love an inexpensive way to keep them busy for a few hours! It also gives them a good way to blow off steam from being cooped up in the house during their break from school. Just be sure to have them wash their hands afterward!
Give to the less fortunate: Parenting expert and Kinsights co-founder Jennifer Chung reminds us to teach our children about the importance of giving. “Work with an organization like Angel Tree or Samaritan’s Purse to help provide gifts to kids around the world who may not otherwise receive gifts at Christmas time,” Chung said. “Focusing on giving rather than receiving at this time of year can be a great healthy lesson for young children.”
Cut down your Christmas tree: Picking out the Christmas tree is a tradition everyone in the family can look forward to! The kids can run around and choose their favorite tree. They can even “help” you lug it to the car after cutting it down.
Go skiing or snowboarding: If you have enough snow on the ground this year, start a new tradition of family skiing or snowboarding! It will give a good workout to everyone in the family, and if you’re lucky, the kids might fall asleep in the car on they way home.
Christmas light tour: Christmas lights are so beautiful and mesmerizing, especially for young children. This year, “walk through your neighborhood and look at all of the Christmas lights, but instead of taking the car, bundle up and head out in your boots or snowshoes,” Chung said. You’ll get in some good exercise while still instilling a family tradition in your children!
What are some of your family’s favorite healthy holiday traditions? Share with us in the comments below!