A Season of Good Food and Good Health

It’s the 2020 holiday season and as December rolls in, my mind turns to all the yummy and delicious treats that abound this season! No matter what holiday you celebrate, this time of year is when we tend to spend time with family and friends, enjoying traditions passed down from generation to generation, or even creating new ones. And no matter who I talk to, most of those traditions and memories involve food.

Trying to make healthy decisions during the holidays can be challenging. After all, it’s the one time of year we tend to overindulge and splurge a little. This year our holiday activities may more than likely be toned down. We might not have those big holiday parties to attend and we might even find ourselves a bit out of sorts.

Whether you celebrate outdoors to practice social distancing or connect with family via a video chat to share your meal virtually, this holiday season will undoubtedly create new memories and experiences for all of us. So, even though we might not be all together or have that big party to go to, you can still find peace and comfort in these ever-changing times. Here are some thoughts and ideas on planning for the holidays.

Keep Your Traditions Going

Take the time to prepare a special holiday meal, even if it’s only for the immediate members of your household. Don’t let the reduced size of your gathering lead you to “skip” the holidays. Consider cutting recipes in half to account for fewer attendees or keep your recipes as-is to make enough food for work-from-home lunches and leftover dinners.

If you know you’ll be busy with holiday preparations, set aside a plate of healthy foods like fruit, nuts, and yogurt in advance. Then you’ll all have something quick and nutritious to reach for when you’re hungry!

Recruit Help from Everyone in Your Household

Get the family involved in creating a weekly plan for all your meals, recipes, and activities. Post the plan on your fridge and stick to it! Involve your children in shopping and preparing meals and snacks. Share pictures of your meals on social media and compliment how great your kids did in helping prepare. They will have a sense of pride as people comment on their delectable culinary creations. (This is especially helpful for picky eaters.) It’s also a great way to create some new memories.

Plan Ahead and Keep to the Schedule

No matter how you celebrate the holidays, it all comes down to food. Keeping a routine and planning ahead can help your family balance between healthy meals and indulgences.

Start New Holiday Traditions

While the holiday season feels all about the food, try taking a daily family walk to look at holiday decorations, have a board game night, or watch a classic holiday movie together. These activities can turn attention away from food and help your family build some new long-lasting memories.

Have Realistic Food Choices

Let’s face it! The holidays are filled with treats. So enjoy them, but remember you don’t have to eat everything all at once. Allow your children to have special treats, but fill in with some healthy snacks that they prepare. A bowl of fresh fruit with nuts or granola sprinkled on top is more appealing to children if they prepared it themselves. Remember to include lots of fresh vegetables and fruits with your meals. They’re not only nutritious, but add a splash of color to the plate.

Take time this holiday season to enjoy those special foods you enjoy most. Remember that food is fuel for our bodies. Focus on including healthful items like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins in your holiday meals and strive for balance. If you make a food-related decision that leaves you feeling off track, remember that each meal is another opportunity to modify your choices to support your wellness. Most importantly, make sure to take some time to relax and celebrate this holiday season!

From our Y family to yours, we wish you a safe and fun-filled holiday season with good food and good health. Until next time!