Tips for a Happy AND Healthy Holiday Season

From the Coalition for a Healthy and Active America

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. For many of us, those celebrations revolve around large spreads of food and smorgasbords of holiday treats.

But as we gather with our friends and loved ones and sit down to enjoy our favorite foods, it is important to remember that holiday eating habits should be balanced with physical activity – like biking – in order to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

The Missouri chapter of the Coalition for a Healthy and Active America (CHAA) -- a national grassroots coalition bringing together parents, schools, and community leaders to find reasonable and responsible solutions to the challenge of childhood obesity – encourages all Missourians to practice a balanced approach to eating and physical activity this holiday season.

CHAA also encourages parents to use this holiday season to promote healthy habits to their children, because healthy habits begin at an early age, and as parents we can have a profound impact on what our children see as smart lifestyle choices.

For this holiday season, CHAA suggests these tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle without passing up your favorite holiday treats:
  • Exercise. Because extra caloric intake is practically inevitable during the holiday season, continuing with your regular exercise regimen will help keep you from gaining extra weight. Going for a bike ride, taking walks, shoveling snow, or even playing football during halftime of the big game are all examples of simple activities parents and kids can enjoy together.

  • Eat small meals before the big celebration. Before attending a holiday celebration, eat a small meal that doesn’t quite fill you up. This way you won’t be overly hungry at the party, and will still have room to enjoy a few of your favorite treats. If second helpings are your weakness, make your first helping smaller.

  • Don’t deny yourself favorite treats. Avoiding your favorite treats often makes you just want them more. So instead of denying yourself a holiday delicacy, indulge yourself with a smaller portion of the snack or balance it out with increased physical activity.

  • Take time to mingle. Keep your mind off of the smorgasbord by socializing first. By placing the primary focus on celebrating with your friends and family, you give yourself a chance to think about how hungry you truly are.
Whether you are watching your weight or watching the buffet, these tips are great ways to help anyone battle the dreaded holiday bulge. So keep riding, and enjoy a happy AND healthy holiday season!

The Coalition for a Healthy and Active America (CHAA) is a national grassroots organization which brings together parents, communities, and schools to craft responsible and balanced solutions to the problem of childhood obesity. At CHAA, we believe the most crucial step in fighting childhood obesity is a rededication to physical fitness and nutrition education. CHAA coalitions have already formed in more than a dozen states across the country, including Missouri. For more information on how you can get involved, please visit or e-mail

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