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Give Your Family the Gift of Good Health

11/30/2015 02:42AM ● Published by Family Features

(Family Features) As colder months approach, many families enjoy spending time together on the couch watching football, indulging in delicious family recipes and preparing for the holiday season. Many of us look forward to this time of year when we can spend quality time with loved ones, relax, reflect on the year and look forward to the new year ahead. This can also be a challenging time to stay healthy, as people tend to stay bundled up indoors and the food seems to pile up on the dinner table.

Learning how to eat well and stay active ahead of the holiday season may mean the difference between staying healthy or packing on a few extra pounds and creating habits that could lead to serious health issues down the road. That is one reason the Aetna Foundation is working to make nutritious foods and exercise programs readily available for families year-round.

“Poor nutrition poses a challenge to America’s health, especially for vulnerable populations whose access to healthy food is often limited,” said Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation. “We’re excited to support programs that help make healthy food and exercise programs more affordable and accessible to people nationwide.”

There is a great need to increase access to nutritious foods in vulnerable communities and to make healthy food available, accessible and affordable for more people across the country. Millions living in underserved communities struggle to maintain healthy habits during the holiday season without the help of school-provided meals and activities. That is why the Aetna Foundation is working with nonprofit organizations across the country to provide healthy foods and exercise options and tools to more people year-round.

These tips from the Aetna Foundation are designed to help people stay active and healthy during the holiday season.

  1. 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 are still healthy alternatives. To guard against nutrient loss, be sure to eat frozen fruits and veggies soon after purchase and steam or microwave them rather than boiling to minimize the loss of water-soluble vitamins.

  2. 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.

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

Find more healthy living tips for your family at aetna-foundation.org.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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