How To Make Holiday Traditions Healthy

December 12, 2018

Over the years, we develop routines and rituals to celebrate the winter holidays, but they may not always be a healthy choice. Nothing makes the holidays quite as cozy as sweets baking in a warm oven, but that choice is considered a sometimes food, and we often overindulge not sometimes, but many times throughout the entire season.

Make the most of this special time of year by learning how to keep beloved holiday traditions alive – like baking and indulging in a holiday meal – while making them healthy. Do your best to sneak in healthy foods.

Last week I was put in charge of bringing the fruit to the Holiday school party. As a parent, I know how hard it can be to get our kids to eat healthily. Who doesn’t struggle to get their children to eat a healthy diet? Getting your kids to eat fruit and vegetables can become such a battleground, such a power struggle. When that happens, parents get cross; children get upset, and suddenly you realize that you have “feeding issues.” A better way is to step back and make it fun, make eating fruit and vegetable fun and enjoyable. It is your job as parents to OFFER healthy wholesome food. We also have to MODEL healthy eating behaviors.

I have four beneficial rules when getting my kids to eat healthily:

Make it fun

Fruits and vegetables don’t look nearly as delicious as pizza, and looks can make a big difference for a kid. Try cutting the food into fun shapes or arranging it in fun ways to make it more exciting. Turn the broccoli into little trees and make a Mickey Mouse face out of the pineapple and blueberries to create a healthy snack fun.

Make it bite-sized

Finger food is more accessible for a kid to dive into. Biting into a large piece of fruit can be difficult for a small child getting used to new sensations or for a bigger kid who is missing a few teeth. Cut up apples, grapes, carrots, peppers, and other foods into small pieces and kids may be more likely to give it a try.

Make it easy

As many grown-ups know, the food that is most accessible will get eaten first. Keep healthy snacks where kids can reach them while hiding unhealthy food or getting rid of it altogether. Have apple slices and peanut butter ready and available when your kids get home from school, rather than an easy-open bag of chips.

Let them help

A kid is much more likely to eat the food you offer them if they are involved in the process. Invite your children to shop with you.  Let them explore the produce section and select exciting fruits and vegetables to try. Let them help you cook, and they will be eager to partake in the result. If you can plant a garden, have your kids get their hands dirty too with the planting, watering, and harvesting, and they will be excited to taste the reward at the end.


The morning before the school holiday party, my 7-year-old daughter and I sat in the kitchen making fruit holiday kababs for her classroom party. To temp each child, we add a small marshmallow hat. This tasty Santa kababs quickly became a big hit. Each child had two to three kababs. My seven-year-old was thrilled to share with all her classmates she had made them.

Yours in health.

Denise & Emily




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