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Happy New Year

Happy New YearHappy New Year … almost! Hopefully all of you have had a memorable 2015 and are excited about all of the new opportunities that come with a new year. Make sure and be safe tonight while celebrating. We look forward to spending another fun and healthy year with each of you! Check back with us in January to see some new and exciting things that we have going on for the kids in the new year. Here’s to a healthy 2016!

If you need to keep the kids entertained and awake until the ball drops, download a fun Happy New Year coloring page and activity sheet:



5 Simple Ways to a Healthier 2016

5 simple ways to a healthier 2016

Most of us create resolutions at the beginning of a new year. After all, it’s a great time to make behavior changes and start off the year with healthier habits than you left behind the year before. Many resolutions are unkept because they are too ambitious and cannot be adhered to after the first week. 

Here are 5 simple ways to a healthier 2016:

  • Eat breakfast – This seems simple, right? Many people think skipping this all-important meal will help in weight loss goals, however, getting your day started with a healthy breakfast is the best thing for you.
  • Ease into exercise – Start out with smaller goals such as taking a walk after dinner, or a quick run with the dog before or after work and then work up to more intense exercise sessions.
  • Find a workout partner – It is easier to stay committed when you have someone keeping you accountable. If you know your best friend is going to be waiting for you at the gym, you are more likely to go!
  • Cook with simple swaps – Try healthier versions of your favorite dishes by substituting lower-fat alternatives! Turkey sausage, low-fat cheese, and greek yogurt are a few examples of some tasty swaps! Check out some of our favorite healthy ingredient substitutions.
  • Engage with family – There is nothing better than spending quality time with family except for fitting in physical activity while bonding! Take a family walk or weekend hike and you will see how good it feels for the entire family to be healthy!

While we’re talking about simple ways to a healthier 2016, if you haven’t come up with your new year’s resolutions yet, download this resolutions worksheet for you and your kids. Make it fun, and make sure to be creative, yet realistic.

Remember, slow and steady wins the race! It’s the small things that can make a big difference, so commit to a healthy 2016 now!

What resolutions do you hope to accomplish this year?

Christmas Eve Celebration

Christmas Eve CelebrationChristmas Eve is kind of like the calm before the storm, especially when real little kids are involved. If you don’t already have this tradition, it could be a fun idea to have a Christmas Eve celebration with your close friends and family. Try having a healthy spread of food and maybe even incorporate a gift exchange. These small traditions are the events that kids will hold dear in their hearts as they get older and will also create fun memories for the kids.

If you want a fun little idea for the kids to do during this Christmas Eve celebration, you can download this fun coloring page and activity sheet:




Portion Control Tips for a Healthier Holiday

portion control tips

We all know how easy it is to overindulge during the holiday season. There are plenty of office parties and family gatherings to attend and so it’s important to make sure you are making the most healthy decisions that you can in order to make sure you don’t get to January and wonder what happened. To help out, we are sharing a few simple portion control tips to make it easier during these fun events.

First, here are portion control tips for a healthier holiday:

Tip 1: Eat Breakfast

It sounds simple, but eating a healthy breakfast is a great way to start off your day before heading to a holiday party or eating a holiday meal. You won’t be starving by the time the party starts. “Saving up” for a big meal usually leads to overeating!

Tip 2: Savor the Meal

Eat slowly! Holiday meals are times when we tend to indulge in more than one helping. Rather than going for seconds or thirds, eat slowly and leave the table feeling comfortable.

Tip 3: Check the label

Portion size differs from serving size. For example, a snack size bag of pretzels may contain up to 4 servings, so you’d need to quadruple the nutrition information on the label to see how much you are eating! Especially around the holidays when travel is more frequent, be sure to check the labels on prepackaged snack foods to avoid overeating.

Next, watch as the Pirates of the Carrot and Bean teach kids about healthy portions:



Now, make sure and download this fun activity sheet kids:


Here’s to keeping the portions small over the holidays!

10 Ways to Beat Holiday Party Temptations

holiday party temptations

It’s that time of year where holiday parties seem to be everywhere. There’s the office holiday party, the kids’ holiday parties, the friends’ holiday party, and everything in between. While the parties are a wonderful time to celebrate with friends, family, and coworkers, they can be an absolute nightmare as you look to continue your healthy eating goals throughout the end of the year and into 2016. However, if you stick to the tips below, holiday parties can be another way to meet your healthy eating goals and leave you with tons of energy for the entire holiday season.  

  1. It’s OKAY to eat “bad” food – Why? Because there is no such thing as bad food and I guarantee, if you say absolutely no to “bad” food, at some point, you’re going to give in and gorge on said bad food until your belly is ready to pop. The solution is to eat the “bad” food in moderation and only eat those foods that you really like. If you don’t like apple pie, pass it up but make sure to have a very small portion of your favorite pumpkin pie, and savor every. single, bite.
  2. Load up on fruits and veggies – Parties provide the perfect opportunity to fill up on fresh fruits and veggies that can be difficult to keep stocked in your own home. Most parties aren’t complete without a fruit and/or vegetable tray so scope it out, fill up half or more of your plate from the fruit and/or veggie tray, and enjoy! A friendly reminder, use the dip sparingly, they tend to be loaded with calories and fat.
  3. Use a smaller plate – Find the dessert plates and use one as your main plate. A smaller plate will result in smaller portions.
  4. Say no to seconds – Dish out what you think is an appropriate amount for you to eat at the party then stick to that. Period.
  5. Hang out away from the food – If you can see and smell the food, you’ll eat more. Find a spot outside of the kitchen and away from the serving areas to call yours for the evening.
  6. Keep a drink in your hand – It’s difficult to balance a drink and plate while attempting to eat. If you keep a drink in your hand, you’re less likely to pick up random appetizers and food.
  7. Think your drink – Egg nog and other holiday beverages can be filled with more calories than your favorite dessert. Stick to the low calorie or calorie-free options.
  8. Eat a small meal before you go – If you go to a party starving, you’ll probably ignore all of these tips and head for the first item you see. Eat a small meal before you go and then pick a few things to snack on during the party.
  9. Bring a healthy dish – If you want to ensure there is a healthy item that you will enjoy, offer to bring it. Your host(ess) will love you!
  10. Don’t forget physical activity – How about standing instead of sitting during these parties? Walk around, make new friends. For family-friendly parties, start a game with kids and adults that is physical activity focused. Party at your neighbors? Try walking there instead of driving.

I hope these tips help you as you look to make it through the holiday party season. Remember, it’s okay to splurge every now and again as long as you can quickly get back on track. This time of year is about enjoying our family and friends and sometimes that means eating some of your favorite foods as well!

Happy Holidays!
MGriffin headshot

Today we feature OWG guest blogger and childhood obesity consultant, Melodie Griffin. Melodie’s passion lies in the prevention of childhood obesity through the school and early learning settings. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can connect with Melodie on her Facebook page, WellConnect LLC.