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Healthy Holiday Traditions: Beyond the Plate

The holiday season has arrived! Families can make the most of this wonderful time of year by creating lasting memories through meaningful and healthy experiences. Food plays an integral part of our holiday traditions. We look forward to special meals and snacks that we only eat this time of year.

I encourage you to think beyond the plate this season. Try these simple ideas to engage your children in festive activities and be inspired to create new healthy holiday traditions.

1. Embrace family meals

Some of our fondest memories happen around the dinner table. Sharing meals is an excellent way to bond and connect with loved ones. Remember, a family meal does not have to be limited to supper; it can be breakfast, lunch or even a snack.

Holiday tradition: Consider organizing a ‘Family Dinner Party’. Each family member is responsible for selecting and preparing one dish. Use your fancy dinnerware, dress up, light candles, and play music. The goal is to make it special and fun! Visit the ‘Real Life Nutrition’ Blog for more details.

2. Get your kids in the kitchen

Make the most of your extra time during the holidays by involving your kids in mealtime tasks. Take them grocery shopping, pick out a new veggie or fruit, look through cookbooks and prepare a recipe together.

Holiday tradition: Turn your kitchen into a festive cookie decorating studio. Bake cookies together, make icing and provide a variety of sprinkles and toppings. Spend an afternoon creating unique and artistic holiday cookies to share at all your festive events. Your kids will be proud when their cookies are served to your friends and extended family.

3. Bundle up and get outside

We live in a very cold climate and it’s easy to spend days on end indoors. Being active outdoors as a family can help make the winter feel more bearable and boost everyone’s mood. Look for activities the whole family can enjoy such as a winter hike, ice skating, sledding, or having a good old-fashioned snowball fight.

Holiday tradition: Organize a winter scavenger hunt where your kids can search for hidden treasures like, pinecones, animal tracks and perfect snowflakes.

4. Participate in acts of kindness

The holiday season is an ideal time to teach your kids about kindness and compassion. There are countless opportunities to volunteer, cook meals, or bake cookies for those in need. Encourage your kids to participate in these acts of kindness and you’ll create lasting memories while making a positive impact on your community.

Holiday tradition: Fill a hamper for a family in need. Collect food, gifts and holiday treats for a deserving family that could use some extra help during this time. Work as a group or an individual family to fill the hamper. Encourage your kids to write letters or create holiday cards to include in the package. This not only helps a family in need, but also teaches your children the importance of empathy, giving and the true spirit of the holidays.

I encourage you to take advantage of this time of year to enjoy your holiday traditions and make room for new ones. It’s the traditions that make this season so special. These cherished moments teach kids your family values, offer them a sense of security, provide a source of identity, and strengthen family bonds. Ask your kids what they love most about this time of year, and I bet they’ll mention your family traditions.

Cheers to a warm and wonderful holiday season!

Need more ideas and inspiration to create healthy habits for your family? Follow along @reallifenutrition.rd on Instagram or Facebook for your daily dose of Real Life Nutrition.

I’m Janine LaForte. A proud Winnipegger, a Registered Dietitian of 23 years and a busy mom of 3 teens. Through my business, Real Life Nutrition, I specialize in helping families get nutritious meals on the table without the stress or spending hours in the kitchen.

Here’s where to find me:

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