Holiday Education: Survival Challenge, Portion Control, Practice Parties and More Activity Ideas for Holidays

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Portion Control and A Healthy Plate Makes A Difference
Demonstrate portion control by showing two plates with identical holiday foods. The plate with smaller portions of higher calorie foods and larger portions of lower calorie foods often saves 550 calories over the one which is visa versa.

The Holiday Survival Challenge
Have a contest to see who can maintain their weight over the holidays.
Participants can weigh in confidentially before Thanksgiving and should be encouraged to work out a minimum of 3 times per week for the next 6 weeks. Those who did not gain weight will be eligible for great prizes.

Practice Party
Have a practice party for weight management clients.
Strategies are discussed the week before and a menu is circulated around the class and each person selects an item they will bring to the party. Everyone is encouraged to dress up for the affair and have a good time.The final class incorporates a group discussion, critique and evaluation of the event.

Diabetic Humalog Party
Host a Holiday Humalog Party for people living with Type I diabetes. Party participants are to bring a covered dish along with the carbohydrate content of the recipe to discuss the insulin adjustments needed to keep their blood sugars under good control and still enjoy the holidays.

Favorite Squash
Serve more winter squash at holiday meals. Our favorite squashes are banana and butternut because they are so delicious that they do not need additional butter or sugar.

Kids and WIC Tips
Make a list of healthy holiday snacks for children that are easy to make and good for your location. The holidays are a good time to introduce these since parents continue with these nutritious snacks throughout the year.

Cooking Classes
Hold cooking demonstrations for the holidays. Here is a cranberry salad recipe which has directions for a sugar-free version:
2    12 ounce bags cranberries, wash & sort
4    oranges (grate the zest from 2 of these)
2    apples
2/3     cup sugar (or 15 packets Equal)
½    tsp ground cloves
Chop cranberries fine in blender or food processor. Grate zest from 2 of the oranges. Peel and section oranges and chop coarsely. Core apples and chop to moderately fine in blender or food processor. Combine all ingredients and chill overnight. Per ½ cup serving: 100 calories (with sugar) or 50 calories (without sugar).

Have a holiday diabetes cooking class with low-fat, low-sugar recipes and has the students participate in the cooking.

Stage a recipe/cooking contest. Help participants lighten their favorite recipes and encourage use of more fruits and vegetables.

Wellness Begins With Happiness
Here are 5 ways to help participants make peace for the holidays:

  1. Make sure you set aside time for relaxation, exercise and quiet moments alone.
  2. Keep your sense of humor no matter what.
  3. Have realistic expectations about holiday visits.
  4. Do something new and creative this year.
  5. Start noticing what’s going right in your family rather than focusing only on what’s going wrong.
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