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Getting Your Loved Ones On Board

Dec 20, 2021

If you’ve embarked on a new healthy routine this year, or you’re ready to clean up your habits before 2022 rolls in, why not include your family and start traditions that will serve them well for years to come?

We know — easier said than done.

But do not fear - there’s no need to give up your favorite holiday traditions when you’re working to get healthy. Instead of figuring out what you need to cut out to meet your wellness goals, think about what you can add to create healthy traditions that you’ll enjoy.

Incorporating physical activity and healthy nutrition habits into your holiday celebrations isn’t necessarily only about burning calories or cutting out delicious foods — it’s about adding activity and nutrient dense foods that boost your energy, allowing you to enjoy the holiday season (and time with your family) even more.

As our gift to you this holiday season (and beyond), the Fitness Together® brand has compiled a list of ideas that you can use to get your loved ones moving and enjoying healthy eats, all without giving up any holiday fun.

Get Active: Three Ways To Boost Your Family’s Activity Level This Holiday Season

Here’s a pro tip for getting your family up and moving instead of loafing and lounging: invite them to join you, but don’t be demanding. No one likes to be told what to do, and your family will be more likely to exercise with you (and have a good time doing it) if they accompany you of their own accord. Set the example and ask them if they’d like to participate, but then don’t mention it again. The more they see you “walk the walk” - literally and figuratively - the more likely they will be to want to join.

After-Dinner Stroll

It’s easy to flip on the TV and crash on the couch after a long day of celebrating, but before you tune into the latest Hallmark® holiday movie, ask your loved ones to join you for a festive family walk. Enjoy a cup of hot tea as you take in the neighborhood’s holiday lights, sights and sounds. A brisk stroll provides not only the opportunity to talk and connect, but it will also help reduce holiday weight gain and stress, increase energy levels, improve your mood, cognition and sleep. Chart your nightly path and make a family walk part of your regular holiday wellness routine.

Holiday-Themed 5K

Ready to kick it up a notch? Inviting loved ones to join you for a holiday-themed 5K is a fun way to bring some friendly competition into your winter season. There’s no need to run if you’re not a runner. Walking (even with a dog or while pushing a baby in a stroller) is still a great way to break a sweat and start a fun new tradition. If you have young children, check to see if your local 5K includes a shorter fun run that lets them join the race day excitement. Additionally, many holiday races provide an opportunity to celebrate the season through fun race day themes. Nothing beats crossing the finish line while dressed in a Santa suit or wearing your favorite holiday sweater. For loved ones who would rather watch than race, encourage them to embrace the celebration from the sidelines in hopes that they might just be inspired to get in on the action next year.

Choose Gifts That Get Your Family Up & Moving

When choosing gifts for loved ones, think about selecting options that encourage physical activity. Strategic gift giving can help you peel your teens off the sofa and motivate them to get moving instead. Scooters, unique frisbees, a mini trampoline, or a video game that encourages movement (like Just Dance or Wii Fit®) can all provide fun ways for your family to bond while working up a sweat. If some of your loved ones already have an interest in exercise, consider how you can support their healthy habits as you shop for them — cold-weather gear is a favorite among runners during the holiday season, and a new set of wireless headphones could be perfect for a partner who loves spending time lifting weights.

Boost Your Family’s Energy By Boosting Their Nutrition

Remember, adding healthy food and beverages to your holiday menu doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out the treats you love. Instead, consider providing healthy alternatives for your friends and family, an opportunity that provides balance between indulgences and lighter options that won’t break the caloric bank.

Add A Mocktail Option To Your Menu

Trying to cut down on alcohol this holiday season? Why not try a mocktail that will give you all the flavor you love from chilly-weather drinks, without the gift of a headache the next morning. If you normally offer alcohol at your holiday celebration, there’s no need to nix it from the menu. Adding a mocktail option can simply make it easier for your guests to make an alcohol-free choice if they feel inclined.

If you like a libation that is sweet with a tart bite (but no booze), keep the ingredients for this simple Cranberry-Ginger Shrub on hand:

1 (16-oz.) bag cranberries
1 c. cider vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. sugar
1 (1 1/2-inch) piece peeled/sliced fresh ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
Ice and club soda

Combine all ingredients except ice and club soda in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and strain. Discard solids. Pour cranberry-ginger liquid over club soda and ice to serve.

Invite Little Ones To Help Prep Nutrient-Dense Sides

One of the best ways to get kids to try new foods is to involve them in the preparation process. Inviting your junior chefs to help you prepare a delicious veggie to serve with a holiday meal, will fill them with a sense of pride, accomplishment, and the inclination to encourage others to try the dish they’ve created.

Butternut squash is loaded with fiber and potassium and adds a velvety deliciousness that complements any holiday meal. Check out this Roasted Butternut Squash recipe that adds the perfect amount of sweetness and spice to your holiday menu:

1 large butternut squash (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes)
1 1/2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 tbs. maple syrup (pure is best!)
1 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss squash cubes with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a greased baking sheet(s). Bake for 15 minutes, turn, bake 15 additional minutes. Sprinkle rosemary on top, serve warm.

Bring A Veggie-Loaded Option

If you aren’t in charge of cooking, fear not — you can still add a nutritional punch to your family’s holiday dinner. Bringing a veggie appetizer or side doesn’t just give your relatives a chance to try something new, but it also guarantees that you’ll have a healthful option to load up on.

These salty, savory but simple Roasted Brussels Sprouts will have even the pickiest eaters asking for more (really!):

1 1/2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
3 tbs. olive oil
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts, remove yellow outer leaves. Cut into halves. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, turn from time to time. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, serve immediately.

Gearing Up For 2022

You’re taking awesome steps toward a healthier, happier you by incorporating new traditions into your family’s holiday. If you’re starting to think about 2022 health and fitness goals, your Fitness Together® studio is here to help! Reach out to your local Fitness Together studio today to create a plan for starting the new year right.

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