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5 HEALTHY HABITS TO START WITH YOUR CHILD NOW BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS

5 HEALTHY HABITS TO START WITH YOUR CHILD NOW BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS

When the coastal North Carolina weather gets chillier and the nights grow longer in the late fall and winter, keeping ourselves and our children motivated to maintain healthy habits can be challenging – especially when you've just made a batch of your FAVORITE holiday cookies!


The Carolina Pediatrics team has put together a list of five of the very best habits your family can implement NOW before we reach late Thanksgiving and Christmas: 

 1) Embrace cooking as a family.

After a long day of work, it is easy to fall to the temptation of going out to eat or picking up takeout for the family. Although the occasional carry-out or order-in night is perfectly reasonable, be careful not to make that your norm.

Eating in allows you to more carefully choose the ingredients in your family meals. When grocery shopping, come prepared with an ingredient list, choosing recipes with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, seafood, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods.

Remember, meal timing is KEY to a healthy diet! Do your best to keep your meal times regular, eating around the same time each night.

Plus, cooking dinner and preparing lunches for the week do NOT need to feel like chores. Involve your children in the food preparation process, giving them the freedom to experiment and choose between various healthy food items.

 2) Keep exercise a priority.

Maintaining a consistent exercise routine can be extra challenging around southeast North Carolina.

You never know what kind of weather we will see in November and December in the Wilmington, NC area! One day, it may be below freezing and the next, the sun could be out, increasing temperatures to the 70s or 80s.

Therefore, it is CRITICAL for you to come up with creative activities suitable for BOTH indoors and outdoors.

On warm days, take a family walk, take a mini-golfing outing, or even play a game of tag or hide and seek in your yard.

On cooler days, take the family bowling or skating, do a fun indoor workout, have a living room dance party, or play an active Switch game – like Just Dance, 1-2 Switch, or Mario Tennis Aces!

 3) Be smart with sweet treats.

Instead of grabbing a high-calorie, high-sugar dessert every evening, try making fruit or low-fat yogurt your go-to treat after-dinner treat. Save those extra sweet desserts for special occasions. There are PLENTY of those around the holidays, anyway!

After a few weeks of training your sweet tooth with nightly fruit, your kiddos will probably crave less ice cream and cookies and more strawberries, apples, and oranges!

If you indulge in the occasional sweet treat, make them healthier – using applesauce instead of oil, using less sugar, and adding healthy ingredients like dried cranberries, raisins, nuts, oats, or dark chocolate to cookies and muffins. 

 4) Stock up on snacks that are BOTH healthy & tasty.

One of the best ways to maintain healthy eating is to simply make better decisions when grocery shopping.

While perusing the aisles of your favorite grocery store, avoid items like chips, Little Debbie's sweets, processed snacks, and candy.

Instead, grab more nutritious snacks, such as…

  • Carrots and celery (with peanut butter)
  • Grapes
  • Bananas
  • Apples or oranges
  • Berries
  • Easy-peel clementines
  • Yogurt (with granola)
  • Smoothie ingredients (yogurt, fruit, & greens)
  • Granola and multi-grain bars
  • Cheese sticks
  • Baby bell peppers (with hummus)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Low-fat yogurt with granola
  • Whole-grain crackers

 5) Limit your child's technology exposure.

Avoid making a habit of sitting around on the couch each night watching TV, playing video games, or watching TikToks.

Plan other fun activities that are engaging for the WHOLE family…

  • Play cards or board games
  • Have living room dance parties
  • Take a family walk
  • Make a seasonal craft
  • Take a family drive or day-trip
  • Go mini-golfing, bowling, or skating
  • Build a living room fort
  • Make paper bag puppets & put on puppet shows
  • Go camping (outdoors OR in your living room!)


Plus, there are TONS of kid-friendly seasonal activities around fall and winter in the Wilmington, NC area. Check up on this year's events.

Why is avoiding the over-use of technology so important? Staying active (physically, mentally, and socially) helps reduce your child's sleeplessness, boosts mental health, AND keeps your child socially engaged with family and peers.

 CAROLINA PEDIATRICS | WILMINGTON & HAMPSTEAD, NC

Need help creating a health plan for your child? Schedule an appointment with your Pediatrician today through our Patient Portal.

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