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Any suggestions for the holidays and healthy family meals?

The last few months of the season are so hard to eat right and keep the kids on schedule. Any suggestions?

Cindy Brison MS RD | Expert

Cindy Brison MS RD

Halloween is the start of months of unusual eating patterns. With the holiday rush, families find themselves eating at unusual times, and possibly eating out more, or just plain eating more! The drive-thru seems like a quick meal when you are rushed. With children, this may spell disaster for providing a stable schedule and mostly healthy meals.

The good news is that a few more meals away from home for a month is not detrimental to your children's overall health and wellness, and yours too! A little planning will help decrease the number of times your family eats pizza or fast food.

When shopping for extended periods of time, it is wise to pack a snack and water for everyone. Try these tips to keep everyone happy and healthy:

  1. Try packing a box of granola bars or mini boxes of cereal to munch on when you are hungry. They will not go bad in your vehicle this winter, and will be there in a pinch. Plus, it will save you money.
  2. If you need to purchase a snack, go for something with nutritional value. Steer clear of candy bars and other sweet items. Try pretzels or yogurt with fruit. Depending upon where you are shopping—fresh fruit would be a bonus! Carrots and hummus are a favorite—even veggies and ranch cups are a quick snack!
  3. Staying hydrated is important also. Carry a refillable container with water in it everywhere you go.  Many times we are just thirsty when we think we are hungry!

Making Meals at Home a Little Easier

  • When preparing meals at home, double up your recipes for planned-overs. If you are making a roast for Sunday, make it larger and use the leftovers later in the week for hot beef sandwiches. 
  • Cutting up fresh fruits and veggies early in the week and bagging them up will make them easy to grab and go—or a quick snack at home. Have a bowl of fresh fruit sitting on your table in case someone needs tiding over until dinner.

Remember, many memories are tied to the meals we share with family and friends during this season. When consuming higher fat foods, practice moderation. Adding a little extra exercise into your daily routine with your children will help too. Go out to cut a Christmas tree down, or caroling, or playing in the snow are all good way to increase exercise while having fun! By the time New Years is over, everyone will continue to be healthy and happy.

Read more answers by Cindy Brison MS RD