How to Make Holiday Traditions Healthy

Over the years, we develop routines and rituals to celebrate the winter holidays, but they may not always be good for us. Nothing makes the holidays quite as cozy as sweets baking in a warm oven, but that food is usually full of butter and sugar, and we often overindulge not once, but throughout the entire season.

Make the most of this special time of year by learning how to keep beloved holiday traditions alive – like baking and indulging in a holiday meal – while making them healthy.

Make crafts instead of food.

Sometimes just the act of making something is memory enough. Light a candle or the fireplace to create a warm atmosphere, and set up a table to make gifts or decorations. There are thousands of websites dedicated to winter craft how-to’s that you can find through a simple online search.

Host a recipe swap.

Many of us gather with friends and family to eat rich comfort food. To encourage others to bring healthier items, host a healthy recipe swap prior to the gathering. Have all attendees print the recipes on index cards and bring enough copies for everyone.

Plan to offset food consumption with exercise.

Sometimes you just won’t avoid the fatty food during the holidays, so plan to exercise regularly to counteract the calories. Don’t just say you will do it – brainstorm ideas and make plans with friends and family to keep yourself accountable.

Walk to see the lights.

Many families drive around neighborhoods at night during the holiday season to check out the beautiful light displays. Instead of driving, bundle up and try a walking tour instead.

Create new traditions.

This year, try a new physical activity, like snowshoeing or night sledding. You could also attend a musical event (music is good for the soul). Get excited about your new tradition and share it with others.