Healthy eating during the holidays

Tips from dietitian, Laura McAlpine

Eating healthy for children (and adults!) can be a challenge during the holidays. Weight gain can occur when physical activity is low coupled with holiday feasts and candy. Here are some of my favorite ideas for staying healthy and active throughout the season:

  • Keep a regular schedule of eating; with breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner rather than adopting a grazing style of eating.
  • Keep healthy foods low in fat and calories easy to find. Slice fresh fruit and vegetables and put them on the counter or in the front of the refrigerator.
  • Avoid keeping high fat, high sugar foods such as chips, desserts, snacks and candy around the house.
  • Remember water, and help your child avoid constantly drinking high sugar beverages, like fruit juice and soda.
  • Ask relatives to not give candy, cookies or desserts as gifts to your household.
  • If your child has food treats, ration them out over the holiday period.
  • Forget the “clean plate club”. Instead, encourage your children to eat when they are hungry and finish when they are full. 

Encourage physical activity with your children and brainstorm creative ways to get active when the weather outside feels uncomfortable.

  • Keep television and computer time to no more than two hours each day. 
  • Stay off the couch. Organize a living room dance or exercise to the family’s favorite holiday music.
  • After a meal, go for a walk with your children to look at the holiday displays in your neighborhood.
  • Take the family ice skating and sledding in the snow.

About our blogger: Laura McAlpine

Laura McAlpine is a clinical dietitian at Dayton Children’s. She currently works on the 3 West General Pediatric floor as well as the Nutrition Clinic. She graduated with a BS degree in dietetics from Ohio University and completed her dietetic internship at University of Kentucky Hospital. She has also completed an American Dietetic Association Pediatric and Adolescent Weight Management Certificate.

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