By Paige Green, Hy-Vee Dietitian on Wednesday, December 2, 2020


Healthier holiday habits for the whole family

’Twas the night before Christmas break and sugary sweets were all through the house.
Every curious creature would take part in cookie sampling, including your spouse.

There’s something about celebrating the “most wonderful time of the year” that makes people very hungry. It’s no secret that food and treats are such a big part of enjoying this season, because the cookies, gingerbread houses and eggnog are more than just foods – they have become family traditions.

However, you can still maintain your family's health during the holiday season without sacrificing the sweet traditions. Promote healthy habits to give your family a head start before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve:

Fa-la-la-la Fruit!

Maybe visions of sugar plums shouldn’t be the only things dancing in their heads, but fresh options like citrus and kiwifruits, too. Did you know that we are more likely to eat produce if it’s out on our countertops? Therefore, grab a festive bowl and load it up with seasonal selections. You'll be prepared when the Grinch-like hunger attacks strike. 

RELATED: Produce facts that will blow your mind

Make Some Merry Movement

While getting comfy on the couch may sound like a Christmas dream, the need to exercise should not hibernate on winter break! Bundle up and break out of the house at least once a day to soak up some vitamin D – the vitamin found both in the sun and the milk left out for Santa (psst – it’s essential for a merry mood). Plus, building a snowman, visiting the tree farm, or going ice skating can build memories while burning off that extra energy kids tend to have during the weeks away from school.

RELATED: Outdoor winter activities for the whole family

Rockin’ Around the Kitchen Island

The holiday feast won’t cook itself, so you might as well take advantage of the extra elves in your workshop. Kids love a good task (and a good snack), so involve them in the meal prep and baking assembly line. From reading a recipe to stirring a particular dish, there’s a job for every age. Bake the cookies and the veggie side dishes, as kids are more likely to eat something they make. 

RELATED: Santa Strawberry Brownie Bites recipe

Check it Twice

For many, the holidays are synonymous with overindulgence, so take Santa’s advice, and check it twice – the plate, that is. Are the holiday colors (red and green) being represented in veggies or the sprinkles on sugar cookies? Encourage a balanced plate, complete with a fun, festive treat to ensure we’re feeling jolly without the seasonal sugar spike.   

paigePaige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.