Blog posts

Post-Thanksgiving, Pre-Chanukah

Food, Jewish Holidays & Community, Life

How was your Thanksgiving?

Were you “good”? Were you “bad”? Did you eat the treats you wanted to for that special day and you’re just fine with that? Did you take my advice for a healthy, enjoyable, holiday?

I can tell you a few conclusions/recommendations that I came to after this Thanksgiving.

First, get that leftover dessert out of your house!

Pumpkin Pie 2

We all have a limit to our willpower, especially in the face of an onslaught of holiday foods. If you keep your main meal focused on whole foods without lots of flour and sugar, you can splurge on dessert, without guilt. However… the problem is when the leftovers sit in the kitchen. Then you take a little slice here and a little slice there, and soon you’ve eaten half a pumpkin pie in 2 days! All of your healthy confidence can easily go down the drain this way. Don’t let it happen! Freeze the leftovers for a future meal or distribute them among your guests.

During Chanukah, we’re often at a different party or celebration every single day. That’s 8 days of being served fried foods and being told that eating them (including donuts!) is your religious duty! Eek! If you’re not Jewish, can you even imagine??? That makes the xmas season look like nothing!

So what are we going to do? No one is saying you shouldn’t have a latke (potato pancake) and a donut every day for 8 days, if you really think that will make you happy. However, you can prevent feeling yucky and gaining weight if you balance things out. You can also prevent your children from losing their little sugared up minds. How? See below.

The following tips also apply to the holiday party season in general, not just the 8 days of Chanukah.

The Healthy Family, Health You” Stay Sane During the Holidays” Tips:

1. For yourself and your children: Make every meal outside of the parties count. Be careful not to consume additional empty calories. You want to eat nutrition-filled foods, not “food-like substances.” (I think Michael Pollan coined that term?)

2. Think in terms of abundance. How many plant-based foods (fruits, veggies, beans, lentils, whole grains like oatmeal) can you consume during regular meals? This will leave you feeling good about yourself – and not feeling deprived. This way, during festive times, you can pick and choose what you will indulge in with a clear mind, rather than stuffing every sugary thing you find into your mouth. This goes for your kids too. Just like grown-ups, balanced blood sugar and the happy tummies and emotions that come with healthy eating can really change what happens when they get into a treat-filled situation.

vegetables 3Still Life 2vegetables

3. Remember, you’re still in charge, and generally, your children listen to you. Do with them what you would (and should, and will?) do for yourself. In fact, take them with you as you do it to model the behavior. That will keep you accountable! What behavior? Be picky. Tell them this is a great day to be picky! Just because it’s a sugary or deep-fried treat, doesn’t mean you must consume it. Survey the offerings and decide what is truly “worth it”? What is a homemade treat instead of something industrial, artificial, and/or available all year. Your grandma’s homemade latkes are worth it. The frozen latkes that really taste like tater tots are not worth it!

donuts

4. Keep your family focused on what real food is by cooking together in the kitchen. In the spirit of healthy, happy families doing healthy things together, check out this family-strengthening gift my children will probably receive this Chanukah:

Click on the picture or find it here!

Check out other healthy ideas and items in the new Healthy Family, Healthy You store!

Share your healthy holiday tips (and recipes) with the Healthy Family, Healthy You community on Facebook.

Happy almost-Chanukah!

 

 

About the author

I make fruits and vegetables come alive for kids and families; You can build a foundation of lifelong healthy habits and attitudes through my Fruit Funshops, Mama's Nights Out, Blog, and Books: The Healthy Mama’s Guide to feeding your family well – Simply and Sanely and its companion cookbook.