Tips for heart healthy holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time of year filled with celebration and gathering amongst friends and family. Unfortunately, the fun and festivities often take a their toll. In fact, the average individual puts on between one and two pounds in the few weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. Let’s make a change this holiday season and kick off the New Year with a resolution that doesn’t have to involve weight loss. Try these simple tips for a heart healthy holiday:

Don’t make food the center of attention. Turn cookie making time into arts and crafts time and create ornaments, wreaths, and dough art decorations. These are great activities that will also make your home look festive. In the evening, get some exercise in with a holiday light tour walk around the neighborhood. During the day, gather friends and family around for outdoor games such as touch football, soccer, or basketball. If the weather is too cold, play board games, Twister, charades, or maybe even an active video game.

Get the whole family involved with meal cooking and preparation. Delegating tasks is a great time saver, and it’s also educational for kids. This season, encourage your children to help with the following:

  • Measure and mix ingredients
  • Find items at the grocery store from the grocery list
  • Set the table
  • Assist in the menu planning
  • Pick a variety of colorful, fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Arrange fresh fruits and vegetables on platters
  • Make decorations for the table

Have a heart healthy gift exchange. This can be a fun and inexpensive activity that will encourage heart healthy habits for you and your friends/family all year long. A few gift ideas include: a jump rope, pedometer, water bottle, stress ball, homemade heart healthy recipe cards, fruit, or even a relaxation kit with candles and soothing music.

For holiday recipes that are heart healthy, check out the American Heart Association. You’ll find delicious recipes and nobody will ever know the difference.

Now that you are equipped with family-centric activities for this holiday season, enjoy yourself!

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