Tips for staying active and healthy during the holiday season


This post is sponsored by the Aetna Foundation. All opinions are my own.

For many people, (I’d gather, something around 90% of the American population) it is very hard to stay active and healthy during the holidays. There is so much rich and delicious food around. Plus, there are many parties and events and exercise gets put on the back burner. After having a great 5 months of working out at our local YMCA, that has me batty!

Tips for Staying Active and Healthy During the Holiday Season

So, I’ve taken some tips from Dr. Garth Graham, president of the Aetna Foundation, to help me stay active and healthy during the holiday season and added some of my own that work well for me!

Eat well.

When grocery shopping for large (or small) family meals, choose fresh, seasonal, nutritious foods as often as possible. When fresh is not possible, keep in mind that frozen and canned fruits and vegetables still offer a healthy option. To guard against nutrient loss be sure to eat your frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase and steam or microwave them rather than boiling to minimize the loss of vitamins.

Cook together.

As you plan and cook meals for your friends and family over the holidays, inviting your children to cook with you is a great way to teach them about nutrition and better food choices.

Get off the couch.

It can be tempting to curl up on the couch and stay warm and dry during the cold winter months, but find ways to stay active with your family– like interactive dancing video games, an indoor game of hide-and-seek, or dancing during commercials while you watch your favorite TV show.

Get the kids involved.

Remind the kids that as a family you are making healthy food choices and staying active even during the holidays. Kids are amazing little accountability coaches (if only it worked the same in reverse!)

Stick to your schedule and routine.

As best you can, stick to those same workout schedules. If you miss a session, figure out where you can squeeze one in. Remember 15 minutes of exercise is better than zero. Also, stick to the same eating schedule. Don’t eat two lunches. And, try not to have late dinners and snacks.


At the Aetna Foundation, they’re working to increase access to healthy, locally grown fruits and vegetables in underserved communities.

  • Your zip code is a greater indicator of your health and longevity than your genetic code (CDC)
  • 49 million Americans, including 15.8 million children live in food insecure households (Feeding America)
  • 23 million Americans live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods more than a mile from the nearest supermarket (Let’s Move)
  • According to the CDC, 9 in 10 children don’t eat enough vegetables (From 2007-2010)

You can find more healthy living tips for your family at

Along the lines of these efforts, the following Atlanta organizations and programs were each granted $50,000 from the Aetna Foundation as part of its GoLocal grant program:

Captain Planet Foundation

Grow, Eat, Love: Nutrition Education in Project Learning Garden schools

Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential

GCAPP Plant, Grow and Learn Garden Project

The GoLocal grants were awarded to organizations that engaged local residents in the following ways:

  • Nutrition education and/or cooking classes
  • Distributing produce reflecting local ethnic and cultural food traditions
  • Providing ways to learn job skills
  • Generating opportunities to support the project through community service or volunteering

How do you stay active and healthy during the holiday season?

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  1. pat chance says:

    Having a buddy meeting you at the gym each day keeps you going. You can catch up on life happenings and I think you push yourself more when you are working out with someone else. I also do my best at staying away from the extremely fatty foods. I choose which calorie rich foods I want to eat. if it’s not my absolute favorite I stay away. we get baskets and all kinds of goodies from our vendors., I just stay out of the kitchen.

  2. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    I have to have a buddy that commits ot working out and staying on track on matter what. We hold one another accountable!

  3. I may not have had time to hit the gym in a week (thank you early classes!!) but I have been hitting over my step goal each day. No sitting for this gal!

  4. Jennifer Boehme says:

    That’s why I do love the Wii get up and move games. And baking with my niece is gun for both of us. Also, take your Vitamin C even if you are not sick.

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