By Angela Arboleda, vice president, Government and Community Affairs
November 16, 2017
Eating healthy during the holidays can be both easy and fun, but it requires practice, diligence and a little creativity. As our director of worldwide nutrition education and training, Susan Bowerman, has shared, it’s so important to prioritize teaching our children to make healthy choices from a young age. It is something to intentionally work toward for the long-term health of our families and communities.
At Herbalife Nutrition, we believe that nothing inspires positive change like having a community around you for support. Common Threads educates low-income children on the importance of nutrition and physical wellbeing, empowering them to be agents of change for healthier families, schools, and communities. We share with Common Threads the vision for healthier and happier communities through good nutrition.
Here are a few tips from Common Threads to incorporate into your family routine to support long-lasting healthy habits during the holidays and all year round.
- Make a Game out of Your Daily Fruits & Veggies
The USDA’s MyPlate and the Common Threads Chef’s Plate both recommend that half of a nutritious diet be made up of fruits and vegetables, or about 5-8 servings every day. Painting your plate with color at every meal is a major part of Common Threads’ food philosophy, and there are many fun exercises to incorporate more of those colorful fruits and veggies into your diet.
Make a bingo board of fruits and veggies and cross one off each time someone tries a new one and see who can fill up their board first. Prepare healthy rewards for the winners to maintain their interest in eating their fruits and vegetables such as letting them pick the dinner menu for a few days.
Shopping with the growing seasons can help you bring the tastiest healthy ingredients into your home for the most affordable prices. In-season fruits and veggies, picked when they are the ripest and freshest on the vine, on the tree or in the ground, taste delicious and retain the essential nutrients we need for long lasting health benefits. Shopping for in-season produce doesn’t have to be hard: farmers grow and sell more of these items during that particular season, meaning more products on the shelves, which translates to more affordable prices for shoppers.
- Don’t Stop Eating Your Favorite Food
Try as we might to eat healthy during the holiday season, there always seems to be that one guilty pleasure food we can’t stop craving. Rather than feeling like we have to cut holiday favorites out of the dinner rotation entirely, we can make some simple tweaks to add more nutrition to those tasty treats.
Being able to control the ingredients used and the amount of each will make it much easier to enjoy nutritious dinners that the family will still love. For instance, on pizza, try using a whole wheat crust, cutting back slightly on the amount of cheese, or replacing high-fat meat toppings with healthier fresh veggies such as spinach, onions, fresh tomatoes and peppers.
- Make SMART Changes to Your Grocery List
Make Small, Measureable, Attainable and Realistic Goals over a period of Time. For example, switching from whole milk to skim milk is one simple choice that can save hundreds or thousands of calories over time.
Not only will it be harder to eat healthier if you try to overhaul your diet all at once, but your family will certainly take notice when all their favorite foods or snack items are suddenly missing from the fridge and pantry. We often fall back on chips, cookies and crackers because they are convenient and typically inexpensive, but all the added salt, sugar and fat of those snack foods add up if consumed too often. Homemade nut blends, trail-mix and air-popped popcorn jazzed up with lemon and Parmesan are healthier replacements for snack attack times.
Another sneaky snack habit is drinking soda and fruit drinks that are often loaded with added sugars. Instead try more natural juices or flavored waters. You can add some kick to your regular tap water as well by adding simple slices of lemon, cucumber or orange.
Families who cook together bond over shared experiences, discover culinary interests and create new traditions. Make holiday meal time a family affair: the planning, the prep, the clean up, and certainly the time together sharing the table. The pay-off is priceless, and it creates a warm, supportive environment to help make the healthy choice the easy one for you and your family. Here’s to “putting your best fork forward!”