Healthy Family Holiday Traditions

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If your family Holiday traditions include heaping portions of food, hours of watching football, pies, alcohol, and the resulting food coma, you’re not alone. A few years ago, my family implemented a few healthy traditions to combat heavy plates and stuffed stomachs during the Holiday Season. Read on, and get inspired!

1. Walk With the Whole Family
About a decade ago, my family started walking together after our big meal. A couple of us simply needed some fresh air, but it turned out everyone was game for a digestion-inducing stroll through the neighborhood. As we rubbed our indoor eyes towards the outdoor sky, we appreciated leaving the stuffy house, breathing fresh air, and burning a few calories. The best part? It was so quiet because everyone else was tucked inside!

2. Lighten Up a Favorite Family Recipe
My mom and I love to bake together during the Holidays, and my great aunt had the most amazing pumpkin bread recipe. Not surprisingly, there was one ingredient that made it so delicious – butter! Instead of axing it altogether, we experimented with a lighter version – using less sugar, less butter, and whole wheat flour. Now, we have a family recipe that’s healthier, and just as flavorful as Aunt Chi’s.

3. Sneak More Healthy Greens onto the Dinner Table
Holiday veggie dishes aren’t always healthy. This year, skip a carb-loaded side in favor of a lighter veggie recipe. I love roasted Brussels sprouts sprinkled with a dash of oil, Himalayan salt, and pepper.
Another option is coursing out the meal. I like to start with a big, fresh salad and a seasonal soup – this helps fill your guests up with some veggies before they indulge in heavier dishes. If you’re not in charge of cooking, offer to bring along a healthy side.

4. Center Your Holiday Around Physical Activity
My family loves heading to a local ski resort for the Holidays, creating built-in physical activity before treating ourselves in the evenings. Not into skiing? Try a family camping/hiking or mountain biking trip.
If a trip isn’t manageable, bring a family member to your favorite fitness class. You’ll enjoy the time together, and sweat out the inevitable stress and calories that sneak up later in the day.
Whatever your traditions may be, light exercise, fresh air, and clean meals will help you appreciate that cozy fire, earn that glass of egg nog, and begin a new, healthier year!

Happy Healthy Holidays from my family to yours!

-Chanda Hinman, Fabletics Master

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