The most important part of a holiday meal is not the turkey, the stuffing, or the homemade apple pie. It's not even the gifts you may exchange. What is it? Family. Sharing a meal with your family provides a valuable opportunity to strengthen bonds and create lasting memories. It's a time to reconnect and share what's going on in each other's lives. This is especially true during the holidays, when families come together to celebrate.
In addition to building a stronger family, studies show that time spent around the dinner table has significant payoffs for children's and teens' health. It can:
Concerned that your children don't appreciate family time as much as you do? Rest assured that they see the benefits, too. In a survey of more than 900 adolescents, 63 percent said that eating together as a family is important, and 64 percent agreed that sharing meals brings their family closer together.
Teens and kids often have busy schedules, and finding time for an extended family meal can be challenging. That's why it's important to make the most of your time together during the holiday season. Here's how:
With all the parties, holiday dinners, and visits to relatives during the holidays, it can be hard to eat smart. These tips can help your family enjoy the holidays without overindulging or sacrificing.
Hold the salt. Limit cured meat, such as ham and bacon, and foods packed in salty brine, like pickled vegetables and olives. Curb salty condiments, too, such as horseradish, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and those with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Instead, enhance foods with herbs, spices, lemon, lime, vinegar, and salt-free seasoning blends.
Overhaul your family recipes. Start a new family tradition by putting a healthier spin on too-rich recipes. A few quick and easy substitutions:
Do the holidays put even your best healthy eating habits to the test? You're not alone. Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, many people add from five to 10 pounds. But with a little planning, your family can enjoy the foods of the season without tipping the scales. Here's how: