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Posts Tagged ‘holiday traditions’

1017151259gThere are many things I love about the holiday season: the lights, cheer, traditions, time with family and friends, just to name a few. At the same time, there is one thing I dread: baked goods and sweet treats seem to be everywhere, and avoiding them takes significant planning and effort!

I have many friends who enjoy baking, either as a tradition during the holiday season or as a hobby throughout the year. Most of these individuals will tell you that they like to give away the treats they make because they don’t want to keep them in the house. This statement leads me to wonder, if bakers themselves don’t want to be tempted by baked goods in their homes, what leads them to think that others will appreciate the temptation if given these items as a gift?

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the average American adult gains about a pound between mid-November and early January each year. Although a pound might not seem like a big deal, those pounds add up when they’re not burned off in the spring, summer and fall months, which is the case for many Americans. A study published in the same journal concluded that at least half the weight gained during the holiday season remains into the summer months and beyond. With this information in mind, giving baked goods to people who are trying to watch their weight, cut back on sugar consumption, count calories or generally make more healthful food choices is hardly a gift. Presenting well-intentioned people with tempting sweet treats can sabotage even the best of efforts!

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If you like to bake during the holiday season, consider trying an alternative hobby or starting a new tradition that supports health. If you are a regular recipient of holiday baked goods, don’t be afraid to suggest the following ideas to the bakers in your life:

  • Make and exchange ornaments, small gifts or hand-written cards in place of cookies and candies
  • Create fruit santas (such as those pictured above) or other holiday fruit treats instead of baked goods
  • Give fruit baskets as gifts in place of cookie trays, cakes and pies
  • Play board or card games with children when you would typically spend time baking together
  • Take a family trip to a park, museum, theater production or holiday lights display
  • In the workplace, suggest a “no dumping” policy to discourage coworkers from bringing cakes, cookies or other desserts from home. Bring healthy snacks and pack healthy lunches throughout the holiday season so you’ll be less tempted to fill up on sweet treats that you do encounter.
  • Write thank you letters to firemen, policemen and members of the armed forces to express your gratitude for their service instead of donating baked goods.

What will you do this year to make your holiday season healthier? Share a comment with your plans!

 

Author: Jenny Lobb, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

 

Sources:

Chieh, Helander & Wansink (2016). Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries. New England Journal of Medicine; 375:1200-1202. Available at http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012.

Yanovski et al. (2000). A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain. New England Journal of Medicine; 342: 861-867. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4336296/.

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Halloweejack o lanternn is right around the corner and can be a fun filled family time.  My sister has an open-house event, complete with healthy chili cooking in the crock-pot and the adults dress up to pass out the treats. It is fun to see the surprise on the faces of the kids when they see the adults dressed up!

Treats are part of the fun but perhaps this year you will share a non-sweet treat with those who visit your house. Kids will get plenty of candy and may welcome this change of pace. Small packages of crackers can be great for those tiny Halloween participants; even toddlers can safely enjoy a cracker snack.

Here are some other Halloween Treats you might want to try:
· Small bags of pretzels
· Small boxes of raisins or other dried fruit
· Small bag of graham crackers
· Apples
· Small containers of modeling clay
· Fall themed pens, pencils or erasers
· Stickers
· Temporary Tattoos
· Spider Rings
· 100% fruit snacks
· 100% fruit juice boxes
· Cereal bars

If you must give out candy, pass out a miniature size. Even if you pass out two, it will be a smaller amount than a full-size candy bar.
Enjoy walking around your neighborhood and visiting neighbors while participating in this fun fall event. You’ll get some physical activity which can help off-set the extra calories you may consume from snacking on sweet treats. When you get home from your Halloween adventure, laugh with your kids as you enjoy a piece of your favorite candy.

Take a few minutes to sort your bounty into piles:
Favorite Treats
Don’t Like/Throw Away Items
Non-food Treats
Food Items – good for Lunches or Snacks

Halloweeners

If you are lucky enough to get some non-food treats, such as spider rings, tattoos, pencils, or pens, place them in their own special pile. You may find that your favorite goblin enjoys those treats as much as the candy. When enjoying your treats, remember to do so in moderation. Your candy can last until the New Year and it is OK to throw some of it out!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pickaway County, Heart of Ohio EERA, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Tricks to Enjoying Halloween Treats.” Retrieved 10-21-2013 from http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442458793.

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What is your holiday family tradition? Do you have certain foods that you have to have on New Year’s Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, or during a football bowl game? Do you have a special way you decorate your holiday tree, your porch, or front door? Do you have a special book you read together or a game you play? It doesn’t really matter what your tradition is, but it is important for strong families to have holiday traditions.

Research shows that developing rituals around the holidays create a sense of belonging among family members. Strong families have a sense of family history, spirituality, and unity – all which tie into family holiday traditions. Family holiday traditions are also important because they connect family members who may be separated by distance, working different schedules, or just busy with sports, school or jobs. These traditions help us to remain close to our family members and create a connection between our past and the future.

As you decide what family traditions you want to keep and those that you may be ready to give up think about why you enjoy them? Is it spending time together, sharing your talents with others, or maybe a spiritual belief you have? Holiday traditions don’t have to be expensive, often the things we remember the most about spending time with our grandparents is the day they taught use to play a special card game, or when they let us help make the favorite family meal. Don’t forget to ask you children or other family members what traditions they want to make sure you keep, and which ones aren’t so important to them – you might be surprised. They may say that the evening you drive around the neighborhood looking a holiday lights, making homemade cookies together, or reading the book about the snowman are their favorite things.

Here are a few fun family traditions:

  • Volunteer – work the food bank or donate toys or food to someone who needs it more than you do.
  • Camp out under your family tree while listening to holiday music.
  • Read at least one holiday book together.
  • Attend a community music program, play, or musical together. They are usually very reasonably priced and would love to have more people in the audience.

Written by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.

Sources:

Holiday Traditions Bring Families Together, Texas Woman’s University, J. Armstrong.

Building Family Strengths, Clemson University Cooperative Extension.

Holiday Traditions, Ohio State University Extension, T. West.

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