Does Your Family Have the Winter Blues?

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(ARA) - Now that winter is here, many people are experiencing dips in their energy levels and motivation. The cold has driven them inside; some are already suffering from cabin fever.

So what can you do about it? Research from the National Restaurant Association indicates that "dining out" may be just the distraction you need to combat the wintertime blues.

"Curing the winter blues might be easier than you think," says Sheila Cohn, RD, LD, a spokesperson for Family Diner, a program created by The Coca-Cola Company and sponsored by The National Restaurant Association (NRA) as part of an ongoing effort by the two organizations to make dining out a more enjoyable experience for both parents and children.

"The dreary winter months are actually a great time for families to get together to boost their spirits through regular, scheduled outings -- dining out together is the perfect forum for this," says Cohn. "Dining out can be a mini-getaway for families looking to get out of the house and do something together regardless of the weather."

For example, Noodles & Company, a quick-casual globally inspired eatery offers a menu of new, "Noodle-less" entrees as well as favorites and classics. "Noodles & Company has created a craveable dining experience for the whole family," says Aaron Kennedy, founder and CEO of Noodles & Company. "During the colder months, each of our restaurants is a comfortable, nourishing oasis for families. And with a menu that appeals equally to children and adults of all ages -- featuring favorites like Japanese Pan Noodles, Wisconsin Mac & Cheese, Mediterranean Mixed Grill and Potstickers, it's a dining destination that families count on for fun and nourishment."

"At Fazoli's, each Tuesday we offer a Kids' Night with fun kids crafts and a choice of six kids' meals for just ninety-nine cents," says Julie Gondak, Marketing Director at Fazoli's. "Most importantly, many items on our menu have zero grams of trans fats and no fried ingredients -- parents can feel good taking their family to Fazoli's."

Here are some tips to generate positive attitudes and smiling kids all winter long:

* Take the whole family out for a surprise outing at their favorite restaurant. Check out FamilyDiner.com as a resource for families who are looking to optimize their family dining experience.

* Have a picnic in front of the fireplace. No ants to worry about!

* Establish a game night once a week. Someone new gets to pick the game each week.

* Make a family of snowmen in your front yard and treat everyone to hot cocoa afterwards.

* Host a tropical themed party for your neighbors and turn up the heat!

By following these quick and easy tips and incorporating fun activities, your family will stay happy until the sun shines again.


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