Megan Callahan, MS, RD, LD
Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian

December 5, 2020

’Twas the night before Christmas break and sugary sweets were all through the house. Every curious creature would take part in cookie sampling, including your spouse. There’s something about celebrating the “most wonderful time of the year” that makes people very hungry. It’s no secret that food and treats are such a big part of enjoying this season, because the cookies, gingerbread houses and eggnog, well they are more than just foods; they have become family traditions.

However, you can maintain your kids’ health during the holiday season without sacrificing the sweet traditions. Promote healthy habits this holiday season to give your family a head start before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve:

  1. Fa-la-la-la Fruit!: Maybe visions of sugar plums shouldn’t be the only things dancing in their heads, but fresh options like citrus and kiwifruits, too. Did you know that we are more likely to eat produce if it’s out on our countertops? Therefore, grab a festive bowl and load it up with seasonal selections. That way you’re prepared when the Grinch-like hunger attacks strike.
  2. Make Some Merry Movement: While getting comfy on the couch may sound like a Christmas dream, the need to exercise should hibernate on winter break. Bundle up and break out of the house at least once a day to soak up some vitamin D – the vitamin found both in the sun and the milk left out for Santa (psst – it’s essential for a merry mood). Plus, building a snowman or going ice skating can build memories while burning off that extra energy we tend to receive during the weeks away from school.
  3. Rockin’ Around the Kitchen Island: The holiday feast won’t cook itself, so you might as well take advantage of the extra elves in your workshop. Kids love a good task (and a good snack), so involve them in the meal prep and baking assembly line. From reading a recipe to stirring a particular dish, there’s a job for every age. Bake the cookies and the veggie side dishes, as kids are more likely to eat something they make.
  4. Check it Twice: For many, the holidays are synonymous with overindulgence, so take Santa’s advice, and check it twice – the plate, that is. Are the holiday colors (red and green) being represented in veggies or the sprinkles on sugar cookies? Encourage a balanced plate, complete with a fun, festive treat to ensure we’re feeling jolly without the seasonal sugar spike.

With a few simple strategies, everyone can enjoy the holidays – even mom and dad.

Santa Strawberry Brownie Bites
Serves 24

All You Need:
1 (18.4 oz.) box fudge brownie mix
1 can of no-salt-added black beans
8 oz Hy-Vee 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup Hy-Vee powdered sugar
1 tsp Hy-Vee vanilla extract
24 fresh strawberries, destemmed

All you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray; set aside.
  2. Add brownie mix to a medium bowl. Beat together black beans with its liquid. *Note: do not add in the oil, water and eggs that the brownie package calls for.
  3. Divide brownie batter evenly between mini muffin tins. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool.
  4. In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until smooth.
  5. Using a small resealable food-storage plastic bag or small spoon, pipe mixture onto cooled brownies. Top each with a fresh strawberry and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.