'Tis the Season to Protect Your HealthIN SEASONAL HEALTH
The holiday season is the most exciting time of the year for many families. Keep the spirit alive this holiday season by purchasing safe gifts and toys, incorporating fun activities that the entire family can enjoy, and minimizing holiday stress.
Picking Out the Perfect Gift
When shopping for a toy for a child, it is important to keep the following considerations in mind:
- Select age-appropriate toys. If your child is under the age of 3, select toys that follow government regulations for choking hazards. Do not purchase items that require being plugged in to an electrical socket for children under the age of 10.
- Avoid items containing lead-based paints.
- Ensure that all paint and markers used for crafts are non-toxic.
- Keep wrapping, ribbons and plastic bags away from infants and young children, as these items could put them at risk for suffocation.
Keeping Holiday Stress at Bay
If you are traveling or visiting relatives, it is important to stick to your child’s routine as much as possible. If he or she always naps at the same time every day or is used to eating meals at a certain time, sticking to schedule could help curb any stress your little one may experience.
Parents are also prone to holiday stress, as you may wonder where you will get the money to buy the gifts on everyone’s wish list. To help offset financial worries, set a budget and stick to it. Instead of buying gifts for every member of the family, get family members involved in a game of “Secret Santa” and have everyone draw names for one person to shop for.
Throughout the holiday season, it is important to set realistic goals and expectations. Do not over extend your family by saying yes to every invitation that comes your way if it is going to be unrealistic for your schedule. Manage your time wisely, and don’t be afraid to say no if you have hit your limit.
| Heart-Healthy Sugar Cookies
Making sugar-cookie cutouts is a fun activity for the whole family. Indulge in healthy sugar cookies using the following recipe.
You will need:
1/4 cup of butter
Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Beat sugar, baking powder and salt with the butter until contents are mixed well. Slowly add oil, egg and vanilla to the mixture, and finally, add as much flour as possible using the electric mixer, stirring in remaining flour by hand. Once dough has been prepared, let chill for one to two hours before rolling to about one-eighth of an inch in thickness. Use 2 to 2.5-inch cookie cutters to create desired shapes and bake for six to eight minutes at 375°.
Sources: kidshealth.org, healthychildren.org, My.ClevelandClinic.org, NMHA.org
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