Carolyn Fallon, a fitness educator and blogger, wrote this guest blog for momaha.
Throughout the holidays, kids have a lot on their plate, and we’re not talking about just sweets and rich food. The school semester is ending. The cold weather and snow makes it difficult to play outside, and children are eager to open Christmas presents. For overweight children, there’s an even bigger issue that they may be facing. November was American Diabetes Month, and more families have been focusing their attention on the disease.
The number of kids suffering from Type 2 Diabetes has grown exponentially; in fact, according to St. Joseph’s Hospital Cardiac Center, 1 in 3 of today’s kids are diagnosed with the disease. We’d like to see that change. With the help of parents and family members, kids can start to lead healthier lives, while preventing diabetes, through eating healthy and regular physical activity.
A Few Suggestions to get Children on Track to a Healthier Lifestyle:
One Balanced Holiday Diet
Kids shouldn’t be restricted from all sweets and holiday meals, but it’s important to remember some basics about regulating a child’s sugar intake. For kids diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, and those who may contract this chronic illness, portion control and carbohydrate intake are key.
Kids need to have smaller, well-balanced meals when trying to prevent Type 2 Diabetes. Their plates should be a balance of fruits and non-starchy vegetables like green beans, cauliflower and carrots along with smaller portions of starches and lean protein. During the holidays, prepare dishes that children can eat and enjoy while also allowing them a treat like cake without frosting, gingerbread cookies or pie without the ice cream. It’s important to make sure that you’re eating healthy too around your children so portion control and “healthy eating” doesn’t seem like a punishment for them.
Fun Holiday Activities
There are tons of things that you can do with kids around the holidays to get them more active and enjoying themselves in addition to burning off all those calories.
One idea is to play a game of “Hens and Chicks” with a holiday spirit twist: call the new game is called “Santa and the Naughty Elves.” Santa’s toymakers are on the loose and he has to coral them back into the workshop in order to prepare the toys for Christmas. This is actually a version of tag that’s very easy and fun for kids of all ages. Two safe zones are created across from one another about 25 feet apart. Santa stands in the center while the elves gather on one side. The elves have to make it across to the safe zone without being caught by Santa. The last elf standing gets to be Santa for the next round.
Just like musical chairs, this game is played with pillows or stuffed toys. Indoors or outside, the pillows are placed around the playground or backyard. Kids have to jump, skip, run and keep moving around the playground but when you shout, “Santa’s coming!” Kids have to run to a pillow and pretend to be asleep. The child who doesn’t make it to a pillow is out of the game. The game continues until only one person is left standing.
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/
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