How to Eat Healthy During the Holidays

Friday, November 09, 2012

The holidays are quickly approaching, which for many people means relaxing, having fun with family and friends, and of course eating lots of delicious food. From stuffing and turkey to sweet treats like cake and cookies, it is easy to put healthy eating habits aside and allow your family to indulge during the holiday season.

However, with some planning and preparation it is easy to keep your family on track so when January rolls around you don’t feel so guilty. Deborah Boutwell, a registered Dietitian at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, says it’s all about balance. She offers these tips for your family to stay healthy during the holidays:

  • Have a plan. If you know your family is going to a party or a get-together where there will be lots of food, be proactive and don’t go hungry. Have a light snack of fruit, veggies or low-fat cheese before the event.
  • Establish the one-trip rule. This means children can make one trip through the food line, and if they want more they need to ask you before they go back.
  • Fill your plate first with vegetables, fruits and salad before diving into the entrees and desserts, and encourage family members to do the same. Keep in mind that a person’s rounded palm equals ½ cup and is an appropriate portion size for most foods. 
  • Any time people eat more sugar and treats they’re out of their normal rhythm. Over-eating and too many sweet treats during the holidays can disrupt children’s sleep-and when children are not sleeping as well it affects their mood and behavior. To avoid a downward spiral, Boutwell suggests these tips to keep your child healthy and happy:
    • Plan accordingly. Allow your children to have an extra nap in the afternoon if necessary.
    • Make sure children have their last sweet treat or snack at least an hour before bedtime.
    • Make sure children get at least one regular meal throughout the day.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 Best Children’s Hospitals ranking. It is ranked #1 for neonatology and in the top 10 for all pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s is one of the top two recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of  Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at

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