Help kids eat healthy during the holidays

Tips to help you and your family have healthier holiday meals.

At any time of the year, living a healthy lifestyle can have its challenges. However, during the holidays it is an entirely different ball game. Whether your family is cooking for 23 or attending 23 different Christmas dinners, the holidays provide an abundance of distraction and fun that can lead us to let our balanced diets slip. With all the love and celebration, why not continue to love and celebrate our bodies as well?

Michigan State University Extension identifies some tips and tricks to add some healthy fun to your holiday season.

  • Surprise with silly shapes - Cookie cutters aren’t just for cookies! Try using those holiday themed cutters on fruits and vegetables instead to make a fun and colorful snack.
  • Kids in the kitchen - Encourage children to take part in the cooking. Kids are more likely to eat foods they had a hand in making. A great way to start is with a single part of the recipe or meal, like stirring or measuring out ingredients.
  • Food processors are your friend - Pureed foods can be integrated into countless recipes seamlessly. Some Examples include adding cauliflower to mashed potatoes, bell peppers in tomato sauce and carrots in mashed sweet potatoes. Baked goods are open as options as well! Craving cinnamon apple? Try a fresh apple crisp, or apple muffins baked with a sliced apple filling. The possibilities are endless.
  • Perfectly portioned plates - Use a portioned holiday (or favorite themed character) plate to encourage making half your plate fruits and vegetables to help you control portion sizes at holiday meals.
  • Naming names - Feeling a bit creative this holiday season? Get silly with name tags for each food item for dinner! Who can resist “pretty peaches,” “silly string beans” or “bulldozer bananas.”
  • Use the seasons - Love to learn? Use the MSU Extension seasonal fruit and vegetable chart to engage your children in introducing some new holiday dishes to the family. For older kids, start by having them pick a fruit or vegetable that is in season. From there they can search for a recipe they would like to make (possibly with a parent if needed) and then go shopping themselves to surprise everyone with their new holiday creation. 

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