Tag Archives: Holiday

9 Tips to Make Healthier Holiday Choices

The holidays are often filled with time-honored traditions that include some of our favorite meals and foods. As you celebrate, think of little changes you can make this holiday season to create healthier meals and active days.

  1. Enjoy all the food groups at your celebration
    Prepare whole-grain crackers with hummus as an appetizer; add unsalted nuts and black beans to a green-leaf salad; include fresh fruit at the dessert table; use low-fat milk instead of heavy cream in your casseroles. Share healthier options during your holiday meal.
  2. Make sure your protein is lean
    Turkey; roast beef; fresh ham; beans; and some types of fish, such as cod or flounder, are lean protein choices. Trim fat when cooking meats. Go easy on the sauces and gravies ― they can be high in saturated fat and sodium.
  3. Cheers to good health
    Quench your thirst with low-calorie options. Drink water with lemon or lime slices. Offer seltzer water with a splash of 100% fruit juice.
  4. Bake healthier
    Use recipes with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Try cutting the amount of sugar listed in recipes in half. Use spices to add flavor such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt.
  5. Tweak the sweet
    For dessert, try baked apples with cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar instead of apple pie. Invite your guests to make their own parfait with colorful sliced fruit and low-fat yogurt.
  6. Be the life of the party
    Laugh, mingle, dance, and play games. Focus on fun and enjoy the company of others.
  7. Make exercise a part of the fun
    Make being active part of your holiday tradition. Have fun walking and talking with family and friends after a holiday meal. Give gifts that encourage others to practice healthy habits such as workout DVDs, running shoes, and reusable water bottles.
  8. Enjoy leftovers
    Create delicious new meals with your leftovers. Add turkey to soups or salads. Use extra veggies in omelets, sandwiches, or stews. The possibilities are endless!
  9. Give to others
    Spend time providing foods or preparing meals for those who may need a little help. Give food to a local food bank or volunteer to serve meals at a shelter during the holiday season.

Source: Choose My Plate

Spooktacular Menu & Healthy Halloween Tips

We know that candy and sugary treats are front-and-center at Halloween, even well before the kids head out for trick-or-treating. And kids can absolutely enjoy treats this Halloween! But it is important to find a balance. Here are some easy-to-make Halloween snacks we found that kids and parents will love as well as tips for how to incorporate some nutrition into your Halloween no matter where your children are that day!


Spooktacular Menu for Kids

Breakfast: Peachy Spider Waffle

Lunch: Veggie Stuffed Pita, After-School Strawberry Shake, Carrot Fingers

Dinner: Red Lentil Soup, Cheesy Ghost Toast

Snacks: Veggie Snake in the Grass, Pumpkin Orange, Brainy Applesauce

Get all of these recipes, plus calories and nutrition information HERE!


At Home

A healthy Halloween starts at home. The way your family celebrates holidays will set expectations for your kids when they participate in other classroom parties or afterschool celebrations. Here are some treat tips for your household:

  • The Wholesome Dinner
    Plan to trick-or-treat after a wholesome dinner. When your kids are full, they will be less likely to snack on the treats they accumulate later in the evening.
  • The Smaller Treat Container
    Leave the pillow cases at home and give your kids smaller treat containers to use while venturing out to collect their neighborhood bounty.
  • Walk Don’t Drive
    Show your kids how fun it can be to get out and walk the neighborhood. Add layers under their costumes if it is cold, remember safety rules and trick-or-treat with an adult.

At School

Healthy school celebrations provide consistent messages that reinforce the healthy habits students are creating throughout the school year. The healthy celebration possibilities are endless – get creative! Here are a couple ideas to get those creative juices flowing:

  • The Great Pumpkin Run
    1-mile fun run where winners at each grade level receive award ribbons and pumpkins.
  • The Healthy Snack Database
    Especially around the holidays, teachers and students can utilize the Alliance’s Smart Foods Planner, which takes the guesswork out of finding pre-approved healthy options for classroom celebrations.

During Out-of-School Time

Most students trick-or-treat in the evening, extending Halloween celebrations beyond the school day. This is where our afterschool programs and community settings can help amp up the healthy message. Here’s one of our favorites:

  • The Swap
    Playing with your food has its place, and that place is during out-of-school time Halloween celebrations. Replace traditional candy at the Halloween celebration with vegetable skeletons, tangerine jack-o’-lanterns and banana ghosts.

Sources: Fruits & Veggies More MattersAlliance for a Healthier Generation

Realistic & Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family, and food. And contrary to popular belief, you can have all three without worrying about putting on extra pounds!

The secret…mindful preparation and mindful eating!

Don’t skip meals throughout the day.
This will likely result in overeating later. Eat balanced meals and snacks just like any other day, including breakfast! Research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

Include lots of fiber in your diet by eating fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and whole grains.
High-fiber foods are high in volume and will satisfy hunger, but are lower in calories. Plus beans and legumes are easy on the food budget. Add lentils to soups, mix half black beans with half lean meat for tacos, add chickpeas to salads, snack on edamame beans and use hummus instead of mayo.

Choose a broth-based soup instead of a creamy soup.
When making soup, use a low-sodium broth and add lots of different vegetables, beans and spices. To make a thicker soup without the cream, puree vegetables such as cauliflower, squash or carrots. They create a velvety texture with a lot less calories.

Use a smaller plate.
Less room on your plate encourages proper portion sizes.

Start each meal by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
If you wait until the end to add fruits and vegetables, you often run out of room.

Ask yourself is this food calorie worthy?
Does this food taste good enough for me to spend some of my calories on? Try not to fill your plate with everything just because it’s in the buffet line. And if Grandma’s apple pie is calorie worthy, enjoy a piece!

Eat slow and savor every bit. Give yourself a little time before going back for seconds.
Wait to see if you really are still hungry.

After eating, get in some physical activity!
Find a new bike trail, walk the neighborhood to look at holiday lights, go ice skating, or play a game with the kids.

Source: Stay Mindful with 4 Tips for Holiday Eating and Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less – Holiday Challenge Daily Tips