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Make healthy a holiday tradition: Things parents can do to make sure their kids are happy, healthy

MILWAUKEE -- It's the most wonderful time of the year -- but it can also be one of the most hectic. Jenny Crouse, advanced practice dietitian with Children's Hospital, joins FOX6 WakeUp with how parents can make sure their kids are staying healthy during the holidays.

Focus on fun rather than food

It's OK to make cookies once over the holidays, then re-purpose your cookie cutters to make holiday crafts:

  • Create potato stamps to make holiday paper and cards
  • Make holiday ornaments with cookie cutters and bakeable clay
  • Make a 'good deed' calendar for the weeks leading up to Christmas or
  • Hanukkah instead of a candy calendar - choose things like shoveling your neighbor's sidewalk, writing a letter to people in the military, calling a grandparent - you can find examples online

Stay on schedule and plan out healthy snacks

  • Don't let special occasions throw off your eating schedule. Plan events in as part of your day when you have them, don`t skip meals or snack on leftover sweets for days after a holiday party.
  • Plan out meals every 4-6 hours with healthy snacks between - help kids think about their snacks ahead of time.

Make healthy snacking easy:

  • Pre-package carrots/celery in snack bags and pair with individual hummus cups .
  • Keep apples and oranges handy and pair with individual peanut butter containers or string cheese .
  • Try fun, seasonal fruits and vegetables in place of desserts.

Create holiday traditions that involve activity:

  • Bundle up and go on family walks after holiday meals - compete by wearing activity trackers and see who can get the most steps in a week. Pick non-food prizes out for the winners!
  • Make an indoor scavenger hunt with household items - could be items that begin with each letter of the alphabet or holiday items (12 days of Christmas).
  • Make an indoor or outdoor obstacle course.

Celebrate, don't stress:

  • When it really is party time, relax a little. Enjoy the foods that make the season special.
  • If your child has generally been eating well all year long, a few splurges along the way are okay.