Too many sugar plums dancing in their heads?

 
 

By Christine Palumbo

Columnist
 
Tips for keeping weight under control
  • Remember, you are a role model, so make good food choices yourself.
  • Keep healthful food choices front and center in the fridge and on the kitchen counter.
  • Encourage small samples of rich holiday treats. Eat slowly and savor those tiny bites.
  • Emphasize what celebrating the holidays are about: family, friends and religious aspects.
  • If hosting a get-together, include beautifully displayed low-calorie foods, such as a tossed green salad with pomegranate arils.

Cookies, candy canes, fudge and eggnog, oh my! Everywhere we turn this time of year, we're faced with temptations. As every parent knows, it's a more indulgent time for children, as well. While they have more caloric leeway than we do-and more opportunity to burn it off-some children gain weight during the holidays.

Research published last year in the Journal of Clinical Medical Research suggests elementary school-aged children can gain weight over the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Not surprisingly, those who are already overweight are more susceptible.
A 2000 study on adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine came to a similar conclusion. It found they gained an average of 0.8 pounds during the holiday period of mid-November through mid-January. Those who were overweight gained significantly more weight, with 14 percent gaining more than five pounds.
Realistically, the "eating season" stretches much longer than six weeks. It starts in mid-October when people start stockpiling candy for trick-or-treating and usually ends when the kids head back to school in early January. Some people say it lasts until Super Bowl Sunday.
"Anyone is susceptible to weight gain and, even more importantly, to developing unhealthy eating habits if they allow the holidays to bleed into one another," explains Sally Kuzemchak, a dietitian and mother of two in Columbus, Ohio, who blogs at realmomnutrition.com. "After weeks of having treats around, kids and grown-ups expect these kinds of foods daily. Instead of being 'sometimes foods' they become 'all-the-time foods.'"
Burning those extra sugar plum calories is also important. Enjoy physical activities with your children, such as snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen, as well as walks during a snowfall. Even shoveling can be fun if you make it.
"Between me and my brother, we have four little boys-so staying inside isn't really an option," Kuzemchak says. "After the big holiday meal, we often end up going outside to play football or taking a walk through the woods. Yes, it's cold and every fiber of my being wants to stay inside and eat cookies. But once we're out, I'm always glad we did it."
Plus, she says, it's good for everyone's mental health.
Holidays are about making memories, which include enjoying delectable foods. So make the traditional once-a-year dishes. Bake the pies and cookies. Use butter and cream and other ingredients that make those once-a-year foods so special.
As Kuzemchak admits, "I actually let my kids have free rein on those days. We have family parties with tons of food and I'm not about to police them at the buffet table. But that's ONE day. I try my very hardest to get everyone back on track the next day."
Christine M. Palumbo, RD, is a Naperville-based dietitian. Her three children are hoping she'll host a cookie exchange this year. She can be reached at Chris@ChristinePalumbo.com.

Cookies, candy canes, fudge and eggnog, oh my! Everywhere we turn this time of year, we're faced with temptations. As every parent knows, it's a more indulgent time for children, as well. While they have more caloric leeway than we do-and more opportunity to burn it off-some children gain weight during the holidays.

Research published last year in the Journal of Clinical Medical Research suggests elementary school-aged children can gain weight over the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Not surprisingly, those who are already overweight are more susceptible.

A 2000 study on adults published in the New England Journal of Medicine came to a similar conclusion. It found they gained an average of 0.8 pounds during the holiday period of mid-November through mid-January. Those who were overweight gained significantly more weight, with 14 percent gaining more than five pounds.

Realistically, the "eating season" stretches much longer than six weeks. It starts in mid-October when people start stockpiling candy for trick-or-treating and usually ends when the kids head back to school in early January. Some people say it lasts until Super Bowl Sunday.

"Anyone is susceptible to weight gain and, even more importantly, to developing unhealthy eating habits if they allow the holidays to bleed into one another," explains Sally Kuzemchak, a dietitian and mother of two in Columbus, Ohio, who blogs at realmomnutrition.com. "After weeks of having treats around, kids and grown-ups expect these kinds of foods daily. Instead of being 'sometimes foods' they become 'all-the-time foods.'"

Burning those extra sugar plum calories is also important. Enjoy physical activities with your children, such as snowball fights, sledding, building snowmen, as well as walks during a snowfall. Even shoveling can be fun if you make it.

"Between me and my brother, we have four little boys-so staying inside isn't really an option," Kuzemchak says. "After the big holiday meal, we often end up going outside to play football or taking a walk through the woods. Yes, it's cold and every fiber of my being wants to stay inside and eat cookies. But once we're out, I'm always glad we did it."

Plus, she says, it's good for everyone's mental health.

Holidays are about making memories, which include enjoying delectable foods. So make the traditional once-a-year dishes. Bake the pies and cookies. Use butter and cream and other ingredients that make those once-a-year foods so special.

As Kuzemchak admits, "I actually let my kids have free rein on those days. We have family parties with tons of food and I'm not about to police them at the buffet table. But that's ONE day. I try my very hardest to get everyone back on track the next day."

Tips for keeping weight under control
  • Remember, you are a role model, so make good food choices yourself.
  • Keep healthful food choices front and center in the fridge and on the kitchen counter.
  • Encourage small samples of rich holiday treats. Eat slowly and savor those tiny bites.
  • Emphasize what celebrating the holidays are about: family, friends and religious aspects.
  • If hosting a get-together, include beautifully displayed low-calorie foods, such as a tossed green salad with pomegranate arils.
 
 
 







 
 
 
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