Stay Healthy and Fit All Holiday Season Long!

Staying healthy this time of year is an enormous challenge. Our daily routine of healthy eating and exercise quickly gets replaces with food to go, treats, and parties gallore. And, let’s be brutally honest with each other, exercise gets either put on the back burner and truncated considerably or tossed out the window altogether until after New Year’s Eve!

Last year one of the Pediatrics Now Fit Tips experts, Tony Gentilcore, came up with a fun and creative holiday season eating and fitness guide that was a huge hit! Tony combined his love for holiday music with his love for helping people stay fit and healthy while having fun to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. You can not only use this guide over the next two weeks but any major week you have family plans that put a wrinkle in your food and exercise plans.

Here we go!

Day # 1: No calorie containing beverages. When attempting to clean up anyone’s diet, the first thing I look at is what they drink. Kids AND adults (you’re not off the hook either) tend to drink a lot of their daily calories in the form of sugar.

The Hit List: soda, fruit juice, Gatorade, Kool-Aid, and even Vitamin Water (added sugar).

Instead: drink plain water, green tea, or “some” diet soda (to break the monotony).

We tend to eat enough sugar in the form of highly processed foods, we don’t need to drink them too.

Day # 2: Play D.U.M.B.L.E.D.O.R.E with your kid today. It’s just like H.O.R.S.E, but with a way cooler name. All you need is a basketball, a hoop, and an affinity for Harry Potter.

Day # 3: I like potatoes as much as the next person. However, the calories tend to add up rather quickly. Instead, make fake mashed potatoes and see if anyone notices the difference.

What you need: 1 large head cauliflower, 1 tbsp butter, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tsp salt.

In a large pot with a tight fitting lid, steam (not boil) the cauliflower for 15 minutes in two inches of water. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and puree in small batches, until incorporating all of the cauliflower. Add the butter, garlic and salt, and continue processing until it reaches a smooth, creamy texture. Each serving contains only 100 kcals with six grams of protein and roughly six grams of fiber!

Day # 4: No video games today. Be the “mean” parent today and deem the PlayStation off limits. Instead go outside and toss the football around, or grab two gloves and a baseball and play catch.

Day # 5: Vow to never pack those 100 calorie snacks in your child’s lunch again. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: children will follow their parents lead. If you’re making a conscious effort to eat healthier, the kids will follow. Pack fruit instead.

Day # 6: Tell your kid that you love him/her. Parents don’t say it nearly enough.

Day # 7: No skipping breakfast today. Numerous studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast consistently, tend to have a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) compared to those that don’t.

Day # 8: There are countries in Europe and Asia who start grooming their Olympic athletes at age six. Here in the United States, the vast majority of

children can’t even jump rope. I’ll even go so far as to say that the vast majority of parents can’t jump rope either. It’s a sad state of affairs. Teach your child a new exercise. Better yet, exercise with them and play follow the leader.

Day # 9: Healthy Snack Tip: Homemade protein bars.

1 cup raw almond meal (grind up in a blender)

6 scoops chocolate protein powder (I recommend Biotest’s Low Carb Metabolic Drive. It’s a high quality protein blend and it tastes great.)

½ cup natural peanut butter

2 tbsp ground flax seeds

2 whole eggs (Omega 3’s), 2 egg whites.

Mix everything in a large bowl. You will have to keep stirring to get everything to mix into a thick dough. Spread the mixture into an 8×8-inch baking dish coated with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Day #10: Keep it old school. Given the high tech nature of today’s society, it stands to reason that many parents will buy their child the latest “it” gaming console or an iPod. For every one “high tech” gadget you buy for them, buy them two gifts that will get them moving. Examples: bike, sled, football, baseball bat, or a puppy (wink).

Day # 11: Here’s a novel idea. Go outside and play with your kid. Build a snow-fort with them. How about a snowman? Snow angels? If you live in an area where there is no snow, I totally hate you.

Day # 12: Instead of leaving Santa a snack of cookies and milk, leave him one of those protein bars you made.

More holiday Fit Tips can be found here.

You can learn more about Tony on his website and blog. Pediatrics Now has big plans for the Small Change, Big Results campaign
in 2009 so stay tuned…and happy holidays!


  1. I think that your suggestions are right on! A good combination of physical fitness and diet are essential to us as well as our children.

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