Give the Gift of Good Health This Holiday Season


Give the Gift of Good Health This Holiday Season

08, December 2017 8:35 AM

Holiday giftsDuring this hectic holiday season, parents, pediatricians and even PTA staff can give the gift of good nutrition and health. Adding a healthy touch to a holiday shopping list can be easy, affordable and fun! Here are options to make this holiday season a healthy and happy one on any budget.

The Gift of Get Up and Go

Being physically active can be as important as making healthy eating choices. Electronic fitness and sleep trackers are very popular this holiday season. Effective in tracking physical activity and encouraging movement, these tools often come with a hefty price tag, but there are ways to bypass this cost. 

Simple pedometers can be purchased for just a few dollars and are sometimes offered as giveaways at health fairs. Most smartphones feature built-in wellness apps that also track steps. Make a pedometer or smartphone go the extra mile with USDA’s free online activity and nutrition tool, SuperTracker.

The Gift of Good Eats

From frozen steaks and fancy food towers to make-at-home meal delivery services, there’s no end to food options during the holiday season. Instead of a high-priced service, try free online meal planning tools and grocery list generators to make healthier food choices this season. 

The free Healthy Eating Planner starts by comparing a baseline of food choices to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and then provides a step-by-step plan to make healthier choices. Couple this with a free meal planning service like or EatingWell magazine’s 7-day meal plans. Worried these menus may be missing important nutrients? Use the Calcium Calculator and wash down dinner with a glass of milk for good measure. 

The Gift of Gab

In an age when everyone seems tied to portable electronic devices, mealtime is a great time to unplug and reconnect with family and friends. Encourage mealtime discussions with conversation cards. Shop online for card sets ranging from $5 to $25 or start with free ideas available from The Family Dinner Project. Time spent at the table over a healthy, balanced meal will feed children’s bodies, minds and hearts. What better gift is there to give? 

The Gift That Gives Back 

Packed with nine essential nutrients, milk and dairy foods provide many health benefits, as confirmed by scientific research. However, milk is one of the most often requested but least donated food bank items. Help feed a childhood this holiday season and donate to the Great American Milk Drive. Online donations stay in the local community, where nearby food banks receive vouchers that clients redeem for a gallon of milk at the store. Visit to learn more and donate today.   

Off to a Good Start

One simple way to set a healthy tone his holiday season is with breakfast. Starting each and every day with a healthy breakfast is a simple strategy to improve overall nutrition and health. Children who eat breakfast regularly tend to have better overall nutrition and healthy body weight, fewer school absences, reduced tardiness and higher scores on achievement tests. 

Need some inspiration or guidance on making a healthy breakfast? Check out the Build a Balanced Breakfast video or play the Power Up Your Breakfast game. Even simple steps like adding fruit to cereal and milk or choosing whole-grain toast with peanut butter and orange slices can get the morning and the holiday season off to a healthy start.  

Lisa Larsen
Community Nutrition Adviser Supervisor

Tags: breakfast calcium calculator dietary guidelines family meals Great American Milk Drive Healthy eating healthy eating planner holiday eating Lisa Larsen milk physical activity Power Up Your Breakfast SuperTracker

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