The end of the year also means the beginning of extra celebrations. Don’t let these fun celebrations be full of excess sugar, fat and calories. Make it a goal to limit these at your celebrations.
There are a lot of tips and ideas for how to create a healthy and fun celebration so people won’t even realize the candy and high calorie goodies are missing from the party. I really like the resource “from the Choose MyPlate website. Below is a summary of what you will find in each section.
Section one contains ideas for selecting healthy foods and delicious drinks. It provides several healthy ideas from each of the five food groups. A few examples include serving fruit kabobs, sweet potato fries, whole grain crackers, hot chocolate or hummus.
In section two you will find tips to make party planning easy. It has several active games such as “Mirror Image” and “Freeze Dance.” And if you prefer not to completely eliminate sweets, this section gives suggestions such as using mini-cupcakes or snack size candy bars.
My favorite section is Section 3, “Let the Party Begin.” This section provides you with several party themes from pirates, to dance fever, to a fiesta and more. Unfortunately, there are not any holiday specific themes, but you can certainly use and adapt the other party themes to fit a holiday party.
If the party is at a location that does not allow homemade snacks, don’t feel like you are limited to buying prepackaged foods. Instead, make preparing the food part of the party. Children enjoy making simple foods and it is also provides them a hands-on opportunity to learn more about food. Who knows, making a snack may even be the highlight of the party! Section 3 includes several easy party foods children can make such as ants on a log, fruit parfait, and an orange and banana frosty.
If you are a teacher or ECFE parent educator, you can use the “Creating Healthy and Active Celebrations” as the basis for a parent session on healthy eating and being active. Families will discover creating an active and healthy celebration can be lots of fun!
Mary Schroeder works for the University of Minnesota Extension which helps to connect community needs with University of Minnesota resources. Specifically the Health and Nutrition programs and resources focus on disease & obesity prevention, healthy school environments, and continuing education for community professionals. You can link to the Extension Health and Nutrition website at: http://www.extension.umn.edu/health/