Keeping up positive eating and exercise habits can be tough for everyone during the holiday season. Taking time to reflect and plan can help us stay on a healthy track:
- Reflect … How have I handled the holidays in the past? What’s hampered my healthy eating and exercise habits?
- Plan … How will I handle these holiday challenges differently this year?
Help your students, clients, or employees reflect and plan their way through a healthier holiday season with our Holiday Train Game. This fun, interactive PowerPoint game is all about riding through the holidays without derailing healthy habits.
As the conductor, you’ll take your audience on a ride through a typical holiday season, making stops at potential challenges like holiday buffets, cocktail parties, baking, travel, holiday stress, and more.
Each holiday train stop has a question. If passengers answer correctly, they earn points and lose a pound. If they’re wrong, they gain a pound.
But more important than keeping score, the train stops will generate discussion and encourage your passengers to share their experiences.
By the time the holiday train returns to the station, everyone will disembark with a plan for making it through the season with healthy habits intact.
All aboard for a healthy holiday season!
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
Eating healthfully during the holidays is always a challenge. This year the pandemic is making it even harder.
Help your clients get through the holiday eating season with our Holiday Survival Tips PowerPoint show. The presentation addresses the reality of holiday weight gain and helps audience members make a plan to avoid it.
Here are three of the Holiday Survival Tips along with how they may need to be tweaked this year due to COVID-19:
- Focus less on food and more on celebrating what the holidays are all about. This can be difficult if you’re alone or unable to get together with friends or extended family this year.
- Schedule phone calls and virtual gatherings so you’ll have something to look forward to besides eating.
- Keep your hands busy with knitting, crafts, adult coloring books, or puzzles – you can’t eat while doing these kinds of activities!
- Make up for missing events like tree lightings and holiday festivals by finding things you CAN do. Walk around your neighborhood to see all the holiday lights, for example.
- Pay attention to exercise and sleep — two things that the holidays tend to interfere with.
- Make a plan to take a walk or do an exercise video at the same time every day. Text a friend to stay accountable.
- Avoid staying up later than usual or sleeping in. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule so you’ll wake up refreshed every morning.
- Put health-promoting gifts on your wish list, like a Fitbit or a subscription to the premium version of a meal planning or food tracking app.
- Find ways to make traditional holiday dishes a bit healthier.
- Use less fat or sugar in recipes. Staying home means you’ll be in control of the big holiday meals, so make this the year you try a lower fat pumpkin pie or sweet potatoes without the sugary toppings.
- If there’s only going to be four of you for the big holiday meal, scale things down. Buy the smallest pies or cakes you can find. Bake smaller batches of things like your favorite holiday cookies. The goal is to NOT have lots of leftovers to tempt you.
- If you’re buying a meal from a supermarket or restaurant, make sure you know what you’re getting and adjust accordingly. Keep some extra roasted vegetables or salad on hand to add to a purchased meal.
The holidays and the pandemic make it easy to gain weight and hard to lose it. Probably the best tip we can give people this time of year is to aim to maintain their weight.
Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD
The holiday season is a danger zone for weight management. Parties, shopping trips, traveling, houseguests, candy dishes, potlucks – all of these can wreak havoc on a healthy eating plan. Help your clients keep holiday eating simple and healthy with MyPlate!
Our MyPlate Holiday Poster shows you how to make the holidays healthier one plate at a time. Get things started by asking people to think about what challenges them the most about holiday eating, then talk about how MyPlate can help:
- Appetizers: Whether it’s trays of finger foods passed at a cocktail party or a buffet table of small bites, appetizers can upset your healthy eating plan. The MyPlate simple solution is to fill at least half of your appetizer plate with vegetables.
- Desserts: Sweets are everywhere during the holidays. The MyPlate simple solution is to fill at least half of your dessert plate with fruit, then add a small piece or slice of the dessert offered.
- Lunch or dinner: Whether you’re at home, at a restaurant, or at a party, build your meal with MyPlate in mind – that’s half fruits and vegetables, then add some protein and a whole grain item to the other half. Don’t forget a side of low-fat dairy!
- Parties: When you’re not sure you’ll be able to build a healthy plate at a party, the MyPlate simple solution is to eat a snack plate of fruits and veggies before you go.
We also like these free holiday-related infographics from ChooseMyPlate.gov. Print them out or use them on social media:
- MyPlate Holiday Makeover
- Turkey 5 Ways and Pumpkin 5 Ways (get the most out of leftovers!)
- And for those of you thinking ahead to the new year … Turn Your Resolutions into Real Solutions
We love that MyPlate makes healthy eating simple no matter what time of year. In fact, 2020 will bring a new MyPlate campaign – Start Simple with MyPlate. Click here for a sneak peek (parts of this new website are still under construction, but you can get an idea of what’s coming!).