15 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Kids

Barbara Storper on Mass Appeal

FoodPlay’s Barbara Storper, MS, RDN, is featured on Mass Appeal to promote healthy holiday eating for kids.
Watch it here!

  1. Try not to go to holiday parties hungry. Have kids eat something healthy before they go so they’re not ravenous when they arrive and then eat everything in sight.
  2. Count to five or take five deep breaths before you eat so you can get in touch with what you really want to eat rather than what is calling out to you. Or, how about starting a family ritual of taking a moment to say grace or give thanks for the food.
  3. Pack up snacks like trail mix, nuts, or “Veggie Grab Bags” – fun plastic bags of veggies like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and snow peas, and keep in the fridge, ready to grab, so you don’t have to buy junk food when you’re on the run.
  4. Make healthy foods attractive, accessible, and kid-friendly. Keep cut-up fresh veggies and dips or fresh fruit within easy reach in the fridge. Make a special place for healthy snack options like hummus, cheese sticks, nuts, and seeds.
  5. Have kids help in the kitchen, create holiday rituals and memories cooking and baking together. If you they have grandparents who like to cook, have them teach your kids an old-time family recipe that they can pass on to their children. And when possible, reduce the sugar!
  6. For potlucks and holiday swaps, make your own special holiday platter with cut-up fruits and veggies, cheese cubes, crackers, or dip – check out Instagram and Pinterest for great ideas!
  7. Have fun cooking up seasonal favorites such as winter squash soup, roasted root vegetables, baked sweet potatoes, and kale chips. Explore new foods together like the colorful watermelon radish or tasty avocado and lime. Or a simple stir-fry of broccoli or kale with olive oil, garlic, and a splash of soy sauce or salt can become a child’s go-to veggie of choice.
  8. Instead of highly sugared drinks, have kids create their own soda, naturally! Pour half 100% fruit juice and half seltzer water, and encourage kids to name their creations, such as “Orange Fizz”. And, always promote water! It’s your body’s favorite!

  9. Keep a container filled with slips of paper with fun quick physical activities kids can pick when they’re bored or have spent too much time playing computer games or watching TV. Include ideas such as: do a little dance, do ten jumping jacks, jump rope to a song, hula hoop, hide and seek, etc.
  10. Try not to use food as a reward, find something healthier! How about a trip to the park, reading a story together, learn to juggle, or create a family dance video!
  11. Help kids connect how they feel with what they ate. You can remind them about how sick they felt last time when they ate too much or too many sweets.
  12. Forget about the clean plate club and, help your kids learn how to say NO (in a nice way!) when they’ve had too much to eat. Especially to doting relatives!
  13. Show kids that they can choose foods that are good for the planet as well as good for their bodies. The closer the food is to it’s natural state, such as a fresh apple instead of a processed packaged apple pie, the better it is for the environment as well as healthier for the body.
  14. While holidays may be stressful, try to enjoy yourselves! Take lots of activity breaks like a brisk walk outside, a fun game of tag, or have a family dance contest!
  15. Holiday time is a great time to teach about sharing food. Try to encourage kids not to take more on their plate than they can eat. And, as a family, go to a food bank or shelter to share food or your time.

Check out these fun resources that make great stocking stuffers:

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