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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Creating Healthy Holiday Traditions

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Creating Healthy Holiday Traditions

Keep fun Christmas traditions and other holiday traditions alive by spending time together and creating family activities filled with fun and love!

What’s your favorite childhood family holiday tradition? What traditions do you have with your kids today that are healthy? Traditions can be passed on for generations, so why not create some healthy holiday traditions for your family that they can enjoy that include good nutrition, an active yet relaxing lifestyle, and family bonding. You’ll stay rested, fueled, and healthy during the holidays! If you are eager to start a new tradition, we have a few ideas to get you started!

Homemade hot cocoa nutrition activity for kids with the Super CrewSing Christmas Carols or Enjoy Family Holiday Game Night

This may seem old-fashioned but the fun continues. Singing Christmas carols gets your family in the holiday spirit and is an opportunity to make long-lasting memories! Have the kids help decide which songs to choose, print out the words, or find them on your smartphone.

Don’t have a musical interest? Play a game of holiday charades. Act out or draw, charade or Pictionary style your favorite carols or holiday movies. Break up into teams and the winning teams get served homemade healthy cocoa. See Super Crew kid Carlos’ favorite homemade cocoa. Let the kids experiment with it to make their own family cocoa holiday recipe.

Have you ever gone Kris Kringling? This is similar to secret Santa but in stealth mode! You wrap up a present, ring your friend’s doorbell, then run away. The goal is to remain anonymous, and the getaway is so much fun!

Stocking Stuffers

Instead of packing your children’s stockings with candy and other sweets, offer them nuts in the shell and a fun-themed nutcracker. Kids will love breaking the shells open to find the treasure inside. Go Dark: if chocolate is a tradition opt for one at 71% dark or more. It has less sugar and has health-promoting flavonoids. If you buy dark chocolate with mint or cherries your kids may find the flavor more acceptable to their blossoming tastes.

Nutrition activity for kids holiday baking with the Super Crew kids

Organize a Healthy Cookie Swap

This is a fun way to stay connected to your neighbors and family without having to all be in the same place. The ground rule will be that all parties agree to cut the sugar by 1/3 or ½. Try applesauce or bananas to replace a portion of the sugar. You can also substitute Greek yogurt for part of the butter or oil, or flaxseed meal for part of the oil or eggs. Try using whole grains in part of all of the recipes. See baking substitutes for more ideas. You can have a competition, too, for the cookies with the best nutritional value and taste. Print out our Super Crew Holiday Baking Nutrition Activity for the kids. Let them draw and color their favorite cookies made with whole grains. 

Christmas ad healthy eating for families book

Christmas in January?

Worried about what to do with all those holiday leftovers? Pack them up and store them in the freezer to revisit the holidays at a later date. Leftovers are an easy solution for lunch! As a general rule, cooked foods are good for about one month in the freezer. Be sure to mark the date with a permanent marker. See our helpful guidelines on when to toss food.

healthy christmas cookies with nuts and cinnamon

Eat with Mindfulness

Be sure to slow down and really enjoy some of your holiday favorites with the kids. Sit down together in the kitchen and take your time to eat a dessert, cookie or treat mindfully. Be present to the cookie and enjoy it’s crunch, sweetness, flavor, and taste! It’s easy to gobble down 5 or 6 cookies and think where did they go? Learn steps to teach your children to eat with awareness.

It’s never too late to start new healthy holiday traditions!

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About the Author

Picture of Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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