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4 New Healthy Holiday Traditions to Try

Holiday family traditions are passed down for generations. Why not introduce some new healthy family activities as you make memories together?

4 New Healthy Holiday Traditions to Try

It's 'the most wonderful time of the year,' when we start (or continue) holiday traditions, like family activities and religious and cultural events. They are a wonderful way to make memories together and create a lasting family bond.

Some of the coziest holiday traditions, like baking cookies and watching movie marathons, can make it harder to stick to your health goals. Traditions are often handed down from generation to generation. One of the best things you can do is incorporate healthy habits into those traditions. Here are four family activity ideas to get you started.

1. Sign up for a family fun run

You already know you’re going to eat a lot of food around the holiday season (we certainly are!). How about encouraging balance with a fun run? It's a great way to burn some calories and spend active time together before you feast. Many local communities host these events, which go by a lot of different names:

  • Holiday hustle
  • North Pole dash
  • Reindeer run
  • Snowman shuffle
  • Santa sprint
  • Turkey trot

To add to the fun, most of these races encourage participants to dress up in holiday attire like turkey costumes and Santa suits. You can opt for shorter distances, or do a run/walk event to include younger children, elderly parents and family members who aren’t comfortable running long distances.

2. Go enjoy the great outdoors (yes, even if it's cold)

Create a tradition of adding some physical activity either before or after you eat. Take turns each year letting a new person choose the activity, like going for a nature hike or climbing up and down some sledding hills. It can be as simple as a walk around the neighborhood to check out all the holiday decorations (or caroling if you’re in the mood), or a family yoga session indoors if you're not a fan of the cold weather.

3. Plan out healthy meals in advance

With so much going on around the holiday season, extra planning helps. For many families, the big meals like Thanksgiving are planned well in advance, but all the meals in between can slip through the cracks. To stick to a healthier eating plan, make it part of your holiday tradition to plan meals and prep them together ahead of time. You can find plenty of inspiration online for freezer meals and other easy things to prep ahead of time.

4. Volunteer in your community

In addition to your physical health, the holidays can also be a time to address your mental health. Need a breather from all the parties, family events, shopping, and gift-giving? Take a pause to give back by volunteering. Many communities have local food pantries or shelters where you can help people in need. Or visit local assisted living facilities to bring holiday cheer to people who might not have family and loved ones nearby. These fulfilling activities teach kids gratitude, can add more meaning to the holiday season, and give you a much-needed break from the rest of the holiday stress.

Check out our other seasonal tips and tricks, sprinkled across