Strategies to help your family eat healthy and stay active during the cold winter months

Have you ever wondered how to keep your family healthy during the cold winter months?

Rain and snow and more rain and more snow. Cold weather may pose a threat to maintaining a healthy diet and keeping active; however, let us not feel discouraged. With smart and easy to follow strategies, it can be done!!

Have you ever wondered how to keep your family healthy during the cold winter months? Well, here are some tips to make this winter a healthy and enjoyable season.

Small step strategies:

  1. Indoor physical activity: Energize your family! Plan fun activities together. Try games like Hide and Seek or jump rope that cost little to no money. Also, you can try playing a workout or dance DVD to get the whole family moving. While exercising, Incorporate canned foods as weights into the exercises to help build muscle. Making physical activity fun and easy to do is key to sticking with our goal. 
  2. Winter is the time to stock up on heavier, high-calorie foods. Whole grains such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, oatmeal and bran cereal are nutrient dense foods and make a perfect example of a good winter choice. Seeds are another great example of a nutritiously compacted winter food, especially sunflower and sesame seeds. Dried beans and lentils in a warm winter soup are a wonderful choice providing lots of fiber. Try different recipes and ingredients, cook meals that help families put up with the cold winter weather. The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides some examples. 
  3. Take advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Buying local and in season is sometimes less expensive and gives you fresh vegetable for those warm winter soups. Plus stocking up on the fresh fruits and vegetables helps to boost our immune system. Michigan State University Extension provides a helpful guide. 
  4. Get your vitamin D! This vitamin is key in helping your body absorb calcium. Although sunlight is one of the main ways to get vitamin D, don’t worry; however, the limited sunlight during winter puts you at a greater risk for vitamin D deficiency. Try milk that is fortified with vitamin D, fish such as salmon and tuna, cheese, egg yolks and beef liver. 

Following the above tips are healthy and easy way towards a balanced diet. If you would like to learn more about heathy lifestyles, visit USDA’s My Plate page. Michigan State University Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension

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