It’s sometimes hard to find the balance between healthy food and tempting treats during holidays and celebration season. We might not realize but our lives change with holidays, visitors and many temptations during festive season. We might seem busy yet inactive, with lots of festive indulgences.
Nonetheless, you and your family can always enjoy a healthy and active holiday with proper choice of activities and food for the kids and the whole family.
Make the kids active
Your kids will love it best when you join in their play. This supports extended periods of play. There are many simple ways to encourage active play time. Start by making enthusiastic suggestions and getting children to move around in different ways. For example: ‘Let’s walk sideways or backwards’, ‘I will hold your hand while you walk and balance on the wall’, ‘Let’s run to the yellow flowers’, ‘I am going to chase you to the front door!’, etc.
You can also try the following:
- Spread out short spurts of activity throughout the day. Play ‘I Spy’ in the backyard or local park or create a ‘treasure hunt’ using items from nature, or toys.
- Have a ‘dance party’, playing their favourite songs and music.
- For Christmas, gift them toys or games that involve outdoor play—swimming floats, sand buckets, ball games, quoits, etc.
Plan outings that involve being in nature together- a day at the beach, picnic in a local park, bushwalk in a national park, bike ride in a safe area. Through your local council website, find out what holiday activities are planned in your area.
Here are some more links to help get your family active and outdoors:
- Download Nature Play Australia’s brilliant app: Nature Play Passport to an Amazing Childhood. It is designed to get children aged between three and 12 years (and older) outside to run, jump, climb, splash, invent, imagine, play and be a free-range kid.
- Visit the Nature Play website to join your nearest Nature Play partner activities.
- Check out this Active Travel Charter for Children, which lists 18 strategies to increase children’s active travel.
- Families in NSW can apply for an ‘active kids voucher’ of $100 for every child enrolled in school, aged four and a half onwards. It’s to help pay for active sporting and fitness activities, registrations with teams and clubs, swimming lessons, etc.
Healthy food and snacks
Your children would definitely enjoy making healthy snacks with you in the kitchen. NSW government provides a fantastic range of child friendly recipes, with suggestions of tasks for the children to help with the preparation.
The healthiest food is also the least expensive—fresh fruit and vegetables. Instead of sugar- loaded processed snacks, let’s opt for homemade tasty treats such as fruit kebabs, rockmelon ‘smiles’; fruit set in jelly, apple slinky, mini-pizzas using low fat cheese and plenty of vegetables, low fat yoghurt parfaits with fruit and muesli, spiral sandwiches, un-iced carrot cake.
On a hot day, get your children some frozen fruit snacks instead of ice cream or cordial ice-pops. Grapes and berries can be frozen in whole fruit. Oranges can be sliced into thin wedges. Watermelon, rockmelon or honeydew can be cut into bite-sized pieces. As a treat, frozen bananas make for a great popsicle or delicious smoothie with juice or any type of milk.
Tips: Make water your every day and every meal drink. Add ice cubes or frozen fruit to make it fresh and novel.
Make celebration craft together
Making things together is a great way to bond with your children and creating a family tradition for the holiday.