It’s a beautiful time of year here in Denver. Crisp temps. Snowfall covering the mile-high city. Christmas tree farms popping up in Littleton, Cherry Creek, and Highlands Ranch.
And now — the holidays! Food. Love. Traditions. The opportunity to count blessings and give some away. It’s a magical time of year.
As parents, you want this time to be special in your children’s eyes… but not at any cost. Though health care isn’t always top of mind this time of year, it’s still important to prioritize healthy food, even during the holidays, to keep your family happy, healthy, and in the holiday spirit.
Whether you enjoy desserts on a regular basis, or save the sweets for this special time of year, your favorite integrative pediatricians at Partners in Pediatrics has collected a list of homemade classics (thanks to mommypotamus) that will satisfy that holiday sweet tooth. Plus, a few savory recipes to add to your holiday (or everyday) dinner lineup.
The Classic Sugar Cookie
Decorated with naturally colored sprinkles and natural food dye, these gluten-free sugar cookies are super easy to make and fun to decorate!
Savory Bacon Wrapped Dates
A fancy take on “pigs in a blanket”, these Pistachio stuffed dates rolled up in savory bacon are always a hit. They take less than 10 minutes to prep and only 20 minutes in the oven.
Sweet & Spicy Gingerbread Cookies
This soft and chewy gingerbread cookie recipe blends the spicy kick of ginger with the sweetness of cinnamon.
Way Better than Store-Bought Eggnog
Store-bought eggnog is convenient, but with a few extra minutes you can make a homemade version without the high fructose corn syrup and additives — just like grandma used to make it. Try this easy eggnog recipe instead.
Cool & Minty Peppermint Patties
These homemade peppermint patties are just as cool, minty and refreshing as the original, and can be made in about 10 minutes.
Spiced-Up Hot Apple Cider
Spaghetti Squash Alfredo
Alfredo is a huge hit at any dinner table, and this creamy spaghetti squash alfredo is no different. It’s filling, simple to make, and a little lighter than the pasta alternative.
Chocolate Peppermint Freezer Fudge
This freezer fudge recipe is like biting into a Thin Mint cookie, and it only takes 10 minutes to make.
The holidays are a great time of year to share traditions, and for many families, that time is usually centered around meal-time. To enjoy the season and maintain healthy lifestyle, follow these tips to help outsmart the holiday abundance.
Eat close to your usual meal times to keep you and your family in your normal routine.
If your holiday meal is served later than normal, enjoy a small snack to avoid feeling overly hungry at dinner time.
Offer to bring a healthy side dish to ensure you and your family have a tasty option at the buffet table.
A veggie side, a big salad, mixed fruit, or low calorie beverages are great options.
Don’t skip meals to save up for a big feast.
This tactic can actually cause you to be more hungry and more likely to overeat. When you overeat on an empty stomach, your blood sugar takes a big hit, causing that mid-day crash or post-dinner nap.
No food is on the “naughty list”.
Enjoy your favorites and balance them out with healthy sides, good protein, and plenty of water for a holistic approach to your holiday. If you only get Aunt Edna’s sweet potato casserole once per year, enjoy it!
Get active after dinner.
Taking a walk or playing a game of touch football are easy ways burn off calories. Walking after a sweet dessert is proven to help regulate blood sugar too!
Get plenty of sleep.
The holidays can be exhausting but prioritizing sleep can help you manage stress and guard against mindless eating. Sleep is one of the strongest defenses for your body with evidence based benefits between both conventional medicine and holistic treatment.
Most of all, remember the season is about celebrating and connecting with the people you love. When you focus on more fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.
At Partners in Pediatrics, we are holistic pediatricians committed to educating our Denver community with integrative and functional wellness topics to help you and your kids maintain optimal health. No pediatric care plan would be complete without healthy, and enjoyable food – especially around the holidays!
Of course, no kid wants to eat foods that taste bad, but these tasty dishes should be an easy win for everyone in the family. And since this time of year means lots of time on the road between City Park, Cherry Creek, Colorado Springs, or up into the Rocky Mountains, these dishes all travel with ease for the family potluck. The Denver metro area has tons of grocery options (especially health food stores), so grab these ingredients, put on your aprons, and enjoy some family time in the kitchen.
As always, please get in touch with us with any questions about your child’s diet. If you’re interested in more comprehensive advice for healthy eating, please contact us and speak with our team serving patients in Denver, Littleton, Cherry Creek, and the surrounding areas of Colorado.