The holiday season is upon us, and cooking nutritious food and being physically active can be easy ways to engage kids during holiday parties and events. Don’t believe us? See below 10 tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on how to make your next holiday activity not only wholesome, but healthy!
1. Make healthy habits part of your celebrations
Food and beverages are a part of an event, but they do not have to be the center of the occasion. Focus on activities to get people moving and enjoy being together.
2. Make foods look festive
Add a few eye-catching fruits to a favorite dish or a new recipe. For older children, add a sprinkle of almonds or green onions to make the dish pop. Decorate foods with nuts or seeds or use new shapes for vegetables.
3. Offer thirst quenchers that please
Make fun ice cubes from 100% juice or add slices of fruit to make water more exciting. Create a “float” by adding a scoop of low-fat sorbet to seltzer water.
4. Savor the flavor
Take time to pay attention to the taste of each bite of food. Make small changes in your old recipes or try dishes from another culture to liven things up.
5. Use ChooseMyPlate.gov to include foods from the food groups for your party
Offer whole-grain crackers, serve a spicy bean dip and a veggie tray, make fruit kabobs, layer yogurt, and fruit to create a sweet parfait. Use whole grains and veggies to make a savory, healthy salad.
6. Make moving part of every event
Being physically active makes everyone feel good. Dancing, moving, playing active games, wiggling, and giggling add fun to any gathering.
7. Try out some healthier recipes
Find ways to cut back on added sugars, salt, and saturated fat as you prepare your favorite recipes. Try out some of the recipes from the MyPlate Kitchen.
8. Keep it simple
Have others participate by contributing a healthy prepared dish, helping with the clean-up, or keeping the kids active and moving.
9. Shop smart to eat smart
Save money by offering foods that fit your budget. Buy in-season produce when it costs less and tastes better. Plan in advance and buy foods on sale.
10. Be a cheerleader for healthy habits
It’s never too early for adults to set an example. Keep in mind that children follow what the adults around them do — even at parties.