Getting Your Kids to Eat and Enjoy Healthier Foods this Holiday Season

The holiday season is here and it’s time for lots of fun celebrations, home-cooking, family traditions and often sweet treats. Believe it or not, it’s also a great time to get your kids interested in eating healthy for a lifetime. Engaging the kids in the kitchen this holiday season can offer many teachable moments and even get them excited about trying new foods.

Here are some helpful tips to begin some new healthy holiday traditions.

  1. Putting a healthy meal on the table takes some planning. Involve the kids in planning holiday meals and snacks. Ask the kids to help brainstorm and decide on a menu that everyone will enjoy. Be sure to plan a meal including at least 3 different food groups and lots of color. Studies show that kids engaged in planning meals will be more likely to try different foods!
  1. Make your trip to the grocery store a teachable moment by giving them an opportunity to create their own shopping list and choose food items from their list. Kids also enjoy special challenges such as spotting different colors of produce, finding the cheapest item or finding a food with the most fiber listed on the nutrition label. Be sure to plan the trip when they are well rested and provide them with a healthy snack before shopping to avoid those hunger pangs in the store. If you forget a snack don’t worry! MARTIN’S now offers a free piece of fruit for all kids 10 and under!
  1. Cooking together exposes the kids to meal prep. It’s a great opportunity to talk about the different foods you are preparing and to, teach favorite family holiday recipes. Our Savory Fast Fresh and Easy magazine has some simple Take 5 Ingredient Meals for busy nights! Remember to talk with the kids about kitchen safety and choose age appropriate tasks for them. A baby can enjoy observing you prepare food, a toddler can tear greens for a salad, a preschooler can cut soft food with a plastic knife, a school age child can peel fruits and veggies, and older children can help cut with small paring knife or stir food on the stove.
  1. Assembling creative healthy holiday treats can be lots of fun! To avoid holiday sugar shock, choose treats made with fruits, veggies, protein and/or dairy and low in added sugar. Check out the blog post, Delicious and Nutritious Kid-Friendly Holiday Delights, for some great ideas!
  1. Making a special holiday treat for Santa’s reindeer is a fun way to teach kids about nutrition! Bring the kids to the MARTIN’S at the Village Shopping Center (7035 Three Chopt Rd, Richmond, VA) on Saturday, December 17 from 11 am-1 pm to make a healthy holiday treat to take home for the reindeer! The kids may sample a tasty treat they have never tried before!
Valerie Pulley
Valerie Pulley, RDN has more than 25 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and is currently a Richmond area in-store nutritionist for MARTIN’S Food Markets. As a working mom of two daughters, Valerie relates well to the challenges today’s moms face trying to establish and maintain healthy habits for a busy lifestyle. She is committed to offering practical advice based on up-to-date medical information to help families make sustainable healthy changes to their lifestyle. To schedule a consultation or store tour with either of our in-store Nutritionists, call Valerie Pulley, RDN at 804-364-3644 or Caroline Roessler, MS, RDN at 804-794-7074. For more healthy tips, visit the MARTIN’S website.