Can Every Day Be Thanksgiving?

Posted by Erin Nantell on November 18, 2011 3 Comments

Erin Pasero and familyThanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. I think it’s the culmination of many of the things I enjoy—time with my family, great food, comforting rituals and friendly conversation.

But why should Thanksgiving be the only memorable meal of the year? There are many aspects of Thanksgiving that we can incorporate into everyday meals. Especially after a tumultuous day, the time spent at the dinner table should be a calming ritual where we can reconnect. But if your family is anything like our family was a year ago, meals were more mayhem than merry.

Slowly, we found little things that made meals with the family much more enjoyable (including the fantastic Crunch a Color™ game). Surprisingly, many of the things we’ve learned are things we do at Thanksgiving too, but I never made the connection until now.

Here are a few tips to bring the best of Thanksgiving to our family meals the other 364 days of the year:

  • Give your kids a job. Whether it’s washing the veggies, baking dessert, coloring place cards, or setting the table, make them feel included.   
  • Include seasonal side dishes in your meal plan. You’ll save 70% by eating what’s in season too. What’s not to love about that? 
  • Light a candle to signal the beginning of a meal and snuff it out when it’s over. Kids get squirmy at long meals, but by making it a ritual, with a defined beginning and end, you’ll help build impulse control. 
  • What are you grateful for? I am not sure why Thanksgiving was the only time of year that this was the topic of conversation at the dinner table.  They say feeling gratitude is a significant contributor to happiness. As parents, if we are positive and express gratitude, our child will pick up this attitude and habit. For more conversation ideas, try the free, printable Crunch a Color™ conversation starter cards.

What Thanksgiving traditions does your family cherish? Can you make them part of the everyday? Please share in the comments section below!

Mom of two reformed picky eaters, Erin Pasero credits Crunch a Color for making mealtime fun for her family. When she's not eating, she also blogs for HealthyHipMama.com.

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Healthy Holidays

Posted by Jennifer Lee on October 07, 2011 1 Comment

ThanksgivingI love the holidays. My children are giddy with the sounds, sights, and smells of the season. Like many parents, I enjoy spending time with my kids and sharing treasured holiday traditions through cooking, baking and eating! But a full calendar of holiday celebrations can quickly add up to a less than healthy holiday menu. A few tips for how to keep the holidays healthy and happy this year!

Pace yourself – Back to back parties can run parents and kids ragged. Space out parties! Plan for a rest day in-between big events to allow little bodies to recover.

Play each day – Schedule time each day to get out and play! On mild days, ride bikes to the park. On rainy days, a game of hoops at the gym can be a fun afternoon activity for the whole family. If time is working against you, crank up the tunes and have a dance party. Just get moving!

Include a healthy option with each meal – Offer a couple of healthy options at each holiday meal. Steamed veggies, like green beans or broccoli, are beautiful on their own and make a colorful compliment to a holiday table.

Lighten up – If you’re heading off to a big family dinner, plan for lighter fare earlier in the day. Sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on yogurt parfaits to infuse a little holiday flavor into your breakfast. Homemade, hearty chicken noodle soup can make for a veggie packed, lighter lunch option.

H2O is the way to go – Put out a pitcher of water on your kitchen table so kids can easily help themselves throughout the day. Remind kids (and yourself) to fill ‘er up.

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