Pediatrics | Published November 24, 2020

Encouraging healthy eating habits during the holidays

The holiday season brings decorative lights, time with family, holiday meals and seasonal goodies. With so many holiday foods and treats on hand, it can be challenging to maintain good eating habits. Here are a few tips to help your family stay on the right track:

Include your littlest chefs. The holidays are the perfect time to include kids in the preparations of their favorite dishes. Younger children can add seasonings, mix and stir or help prepare salads. Cooking together provides a natural way to discuss nutrition and healthy ingredient substitutions. Plus, kids are much more likely to eat what they make.

Make fruit and veggies visible. Be sure to keep fruit and veggies where your children can easily see and reach for quick snacks and as part of mealtime. With citrus in season, try mandarin oranges or clementines, which appeal to kids because they're easy to peel.

It's okay to snack. Try a light, healthy snack before a big holiday meal to keep from overeating. If one meal is incredibly rich, try serving a lighter meal the next time the family eats. Also, don't skip meals, as this can lead to overeating later on.

Watch what your kids are drinking. Limit the availability of sugary holiday beverages, such as hot cocoa and eggnog. It's okay to indulge a little in these cold-weather favorites, but help your kids limit these drinks in favor of water or milk.

Organize a family activity. The holiday season can be an incredibly busy and stressful time, especially as we continue to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Take the time to go for a family walk, play a game of tag or shoot hoops in the driveway. Just keep the focus off food and being physically active.