#MomLife: How to Use the Holidays as a Teachable Moment for Kids


The holidays are my favorite time of year. Time for indulging and gift giving! We try to eat healthy all year round so during the holidays we do tend to splurge a bit as a family. This time of year is actually a great time to teach the kids about food and why it’s so important to eat healthy all year round. It’s also a good time to teach about moderation and tips for staying healthy even though we’re indulging. How to Use the Holidays as a Teachable Moment for Kids

Eat Dinner Beforehand – we always eat a healthy lunch or dinner before heading out to our holiday parties. This makes our stomachs full so we’re not so hungry for party food (at least right away).

Drink Lots of Water – with all the sugar we usually consume at parties, we know it’s important to compensate by drinking lots of water. We usually drink a bunch before we leave the house and bring a water bottle with us while we are at the party.

Moderation is Important – don’t overindulge or take too much of any one thing. Leave some for the rest of the guests.

Don’t Waste Your Indulging - Find the food items at the party that you really enjoy and savor them and skip the things you’re not extremely fond of. Why bother wasting calories and indulging on things you don’t really like that much in the first place.

Eat Super Healthy To Make Up For Indulging - This time of year when you are not attending a holiday party try to do your best to eat healthier than you normally would to make up for the overindulging at parties. Maybe eat more salads or salads than you normally would. Soup is a great way to detox the body and it’s such a great time of year for it. Eating healthier than usual will help compensate for the occasional sweets!

Healthy Kid Holiday Treats

Fun with Veggies – making veggies with a holiday theme is so much fun, take snowman and Santa veggie cups for example. Taking cauliflower, red peppers, and grape tomatoes and put them in little plastic cups where you can decorate the outside as a famous holiday character. Adding humus to the bottom of every cup for dipping makes it even more delicious. Or create a veggie tray spelling out your favorite holiday word! It’s so much fun to get creative with healthy food.

Fun with Fruit – you can make all kinds of holiday themed treats out of fruit. Take the strawberry banana candy cane or the strawberry Santa hats with banana fringe attached to a cute little green grape. One of our favorite things to do with fruit as a special treat is to dip it in chocolate. Not only is it delicious but it’s really fun for the kids.

Eggs, Olives and Hummus – Another way you can get creative is with eggs, olives and hummus. Making olive penguins using olives and carrots and making egg snowmen using eggs, carrots and parsley. You can also use pita bread and shape it however you’d like to form a tree then add cilantro hummus and some diced tomatoes on top. Add a pretzel as a trunk and you have a nice healthy treat that is also super festive.

I hope these tips help you to have a fun, enjoyable, yet healthy holiday season.  If you eat and drink healthy a majority of the time, you should never feel guilty indulging a bit this time of year.  Just be safe and know that every day is a fresh start to make healthy choices.

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Dr. Liz Cruz is a gastroenterologist, an author, and (most importantly) a parent of 4 children. A Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine, Dr. Cruz is widely praised for her all-natural, holistic approach to wellness and for effectively reducing the need for prescription medicine.

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