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Healthy Holiday Eating Guide

September 15, 2017

Survive the holidays with these helpful nutrition tips

The holidays are upon us, and so are all the seasonal treats that come with them. Around this time of year, it may seem tough to keep your child’s hand out of the cookie jar. But there are ways to make healthy holiday eating a reality.

“During the holiday season, it can be very difficult to lose weight,” says registered dietitian Jane Harrington-Noonan. “With all the temptations around, we work with our patients to focus on maintaining their weight.”

Practice Self-Control

One way to avoid holiday weight gain: limiting sugary treats at home. Harrington-Noonan suggests keeping any temptations out of sight – and preferably out of the house. Even leftovers from holiday parties should be discarded as soon as possible.

“We encourage parents to oversee the foods being brought into the home to help children make healthier choices,” Harrington-Noonan says. “Hiding foods does not teach children how to balance treats with healthier options.”

While controlling your child’s food choices can be easier at home, it can be more difficult outside the home. School festivities, family gatherings and other social situations can present a problem when it comes to healthy eating. Still, there are ways to limit the cost of indulgences.

“If you’re at a buffet with your children, make sure that half their plate consists of vegetables. If it’s a potluck, consider bringing a healthy dish to the party. The key is to be prepared for that particular situation.”

Make Healthy Food Fun

But what if you cannot be around to supervise your child?

“You have to trust that your child can make the right choices,” says Harrington-Noonan. “He or she has to find the motivation to not overindulge.” Another recommendation from Harrington-Noonan is to have more fun with healthy foods. Cutting veggies and fruits into creative shapes can make these foods seem as appealing as their not-so-healthy counterparts.

“Kids like to have fun,” she says. “Make them a part of the cooking process, pick out colorful foods or play around with presentation. All of these things can make nutritious food more appetizing.”

Visit choosemyplate.gov for more healthy eating tips.