Working Off Holiday Meals

Holidays mean eating (and eating too much of) all of our favorite foods! We can enjoy our special foods during these special times, but we might want to think about a way to balance the extra food we eat with some extra physical activity. Remember, we gain weight when we take in more calories than we use to be active.

In Maryland, we can’t be sure the weather will be nice for going outdoors during holiday times, so you might want to plan two ways of working off holiday meals--one that you can do outside if the weather is fine and one to do inside, if it’s a cold, snowy, or rainy day.

When I was growing up, taking a family walk after a big meal was as much a part of the tradition of any holiday as eating was. First, we enjoyed the food and company, and then we took a nice, long walk around our neighborhood after everyone helped with the dishes. You only need a pair of comfortable shoes to take a walk. Everyone in the family can join in. You can even take the dog along!
  
Ideas for outdoor fun are many:
  •  Some families plan an active game of touch football after a big holiday meal.
  •  How about a trip to a nearby park or nature center, where the youngsters can play on the playground and the adults can walk on nearby paths or trails?
  •  Is an active game of tag or Frisbee© more to your liking?
  •  Some families even go for a group bike ride! 
  • Take some time to see what might be available in your neighborhood. 
  •  If it’s snowy – bundle up and go outside to make a snowman or snow angels. 
 How about if the weather isn’t nice? Make room for a big dance floor and put on your favorite music. Here’s your chance to show off those dance moves you’ve been working on all year! Play hide-and-seek with the children. If a nearby shopping center is open, take everyone over in the car and go for a walk around the mall--you can burn off those extra helpings on an indoor walk as easily as an outdoor walk! Some families go ice skating!

For more ideas about getting yourself and your family moving during the holidays (and all year long), visit the Let’s Move Blog To see what the physical activity guidelines are for all ages, visit: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines

No matter what you decide to do, you’ll feel better if your holiday includes some extra moving!
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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
© Eat Smart, Be Fit Maryland!Maira Gall