This post is sponsored by the Aetna Foundation. All opinions are my own.
For many people, (I’d gather, something around 90% of the American population) it is very hard to stay active and healthy during the holidays. There is so much rich and delicious food around. Plus, there are many parties and events and exercise gets put on the back burner. After having a great 5 months of working out at our local YMCA, that has me batty!
So, I’ve taken some tips from Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation, to help me stay active and healthy during the holiday season and added some of my own that work well for me!
When grocery shopping for large (or small) family meals, choose fresh, seasonal, nutritious foods as often as possible. When fresh is not possible, keep in mind that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables still offer a healthy option. To guard against nutrient loss be sure to eat your frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase and steam or microwave them rather than boiling to minimize the loss of vitamins.
As you plan and cook meals for your friends and family over the holidays, inviting your children to cook with you is a great way to teach them about nutrition and better food choices.
Get off the couch.
It can be tempting to curl up on the couch and stay warm and dry during the cold winter months, but find ways to stay active with your family– like interactive dancing video games, an indoor game of hide-and-seek, or dancing during commercials while you watch your favorite TV show.
Get the kids involved.
Remind the kids that as a family you are making healthy food choices and staying active even during the holidays. Kids are amazing little accountability coaches (if only it worked the same in reverse!)
Stick to your schedule and routine.
As best you can, stick to those same workout schedules. If you miss a session, figure out where you can squeeze one in. Remember 15 minutes of exercise is better than zero. Also, stick to the same eating schedule. Don’t eat two lunches. And, try not to have late dinners and snacks.
HELP NUTRITION TAKE ROOT IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
At the Aetna Foundation, they’re working to increase access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables in underserved communities.
- Your zip code is a greater indicator of your health and longevity than your genetic code (CDC)
- 49 million Americans, including 15.8 million children live in food insecure households (Feeding America)
- 23 million Americans live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods more than a mile from the nearest supermarket (Let’s Move)
- According to the CDC, 9 in 10 children don’t eat enough vegetables (From 2007-2010)
You can find more healthy living tips for your family at http://www.aetna-foundation.org/.
Along the lines of these efforts, the following Atlanta organizations and programs were each granted $50,000 from the Aetna Foundation as part of its GoLocal grant program:
Captain Planet Foundation
Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential
The GoLocal grants were awarded to organizations that engaged local residents in the following ways:
- Nutrition education and/or cooking classes
- Distributing produce reflecting local ethnic and cultural food traditions
- Providing ways to learn job skills
- Generating opportunities to support the project through community service or volunteering