Traditions are a special part of the holiday season; some simply emerge because they were so much fun the year before and some have been passed down for generations. Traditions might include building a gingerbread house, baking your favorite seasonal cookies, hosting and cooking a delicious meal, or gathering to watch a special holiday movie.
While we encourage you to celebrate the holidays in a way that feels most special to you, why not put a healthy spin on a tradition that you and your loved ones can do together?
Here are our favorite tips for creating healthy holiday traditions while still maintaining the fun and cheerful spirit evoked during this time of year.
1. Set an exercise goal. Around this time of year, there are a variety of runs and walks for you and your family to take part in. Ask everyone to sign up ahead of time and put it on your calendar! As long as you’ve carved out time before the holidays hit, you’ll all have something to look forward to! Plus, a walk or run is a great way to get out of the house and work up a sweat before enjoying your favorite holiday treats. The best part? These races usually occur at the same time every year, so it’s a simple way to start a tradition without having to think too much about it.
2. Start your morning with a balanced breakfast. With so much focus on holiday cooking, we often forget that eating a balanced breakfast is so important! Opt for colorful dishes, like veggie frittatas, fruit salads, or yogurt parfaits. Not only is a balanced breakfast with your family more time spent together, but you’ll be starting your day with a nutritious meal. It’s a win-win!
3. Be present. The holidays are a perfect time to eliminate distraction and screen time. If you’re home from work or school, take the time to enjoy being present with your loved ones. And make sure everyone cuts back – whether it’s refraining from checking emails, turning off notifications, or taking a social media hiatus. Instead, use this time to play a game or read a book out loud. Unplug and unwind by doing something together – better for both your mind and body. It can even be something as simple as decorating your tree, wrapping presents, or playing your favorite childhood game. You’ll move around a bit and perhaps share a few laughs!
4. Bake healthy treats. While Grandma’s cookies might be a family favorite, try adding a new treat to the mix by incorporating nuts, fruits, and whole grains. Almond, oat, and coconut flours often sub easily into recipes and help cut down on refined white flour traditionally used. You can also swap dark chocolate for milk chocolate, or dates, maple syrup, and honey for any added sugar.
5. Express gratitude. What better way to end your holiday celebrations than by sharing what you’re thankful for? At the end of the night, go around the table and have each person say a few words. While we often get caught up in shopping and gift giving, this is a wonderful way to think about what’s most important to you. Tell your family, friends, and loved ones how much they’re appreciated, and we guarantee you’ll instantly feel more cheerful!
Remember, traditions mean something different to everyone, but they always make this season more meaningful. What are some of your favorite traditions? Share in the comments below and tell us what healthy traditions you are inspired to try. Happy holidays from our IIN family to yours!
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