How can I help my family eat healthy during the holidays?

Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics

First, by being a good role model by filling your plate with mostly healthy items such as salads, fruits, veggies and lean protein like skinless turkey and seafood. Save ¼ of your plate for your favorite holiday item. You can help your kids by filling their plate and letting them choose their favorite dish. I’ve learned that kids pay more attention to what you do than what you say.

Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Tips to promote healthy habits during the holidays

  • Plan meals and snacks
  • Tweak traditional family recipes to make them healthier
  • Try new recipes that are healthier and delicious
  • Incorporate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables into meals
  • Serve water in place of sugar sweetened beverages with meals
  • Encourage regular physical activity during the holidays
  • Focus on quality time spent together on non-food related activities
Sarah LoBisco
Integrative Medicine

For holidays that are full of cheer, not grumpy deprivation, try the following tips:

Ask your family what their favorite, healthiest foods and veggies are and be sure to serve this at dinner.

Be a role model by allowing treats in moderation and filling up on foods that are healthy for your body and make you feel good.

Encourage balancing blood sugar to prevent the "waiting for turkey dinner binge". By allowing healthy snacks and balancing each meal and snack with proteins, healthy fats, and whole grain carbohydrates, cravings and impulse control will be easier.

  • Hint: Fill up on healthy complex carbohydrates such as whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet) and root vegetables (carrots, yams, and squash) for a sweet taste and blood sugar balance at the same time. These foods are high in fiber which will increase satiety. They are also full of powerful antioxidants which supply the body with better blood sugar balance and lower inflammation at the same time!

Make healthy versions of holiday dessert favorites by replacing nutrient depleted sugar with more balanced sweet options such as stevia, maple syrup, xylitol, or honey. Also, consider the use of gluten free options, which are less inflammatory flours and are more filling.


Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics

The best way to ensure your family is eating healthy during the holidays (as well as the rest of the year), is to lead by example. Eat a lot of veggies; stick with lean meats or fish, and whole grains. Don’t load your kitchen up with holiday treats and sweets. Keep the meals at home basic, low in fat and calories. When dining out or at a party, make sure to avoid taking home leftovers. This way your family won’t be tempted to eat it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.