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Using the Holidays to Instill Healthy Habits

The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and enjoying good food. As a proud partner of the Together Counts™ program, we see the holidays as the perfect time to teach your children about cooking while putting into place healthy family traditions.

Here are six tips for how to use the holidays to instill healthy eating habits in your home.

  1. With so much of the holidays revolving around food, we often find ourselves spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Who says you have to go at it alone? Recruit the whole family. You’ll get it done faster while spending quality time with your children and teaching them culinary skills that will last a lifetime. Now, that’s a great gift to give!
  1. Did you know that children are more likely to eat healthy meals if they help to make them? Everyone has something to contribute. Younger children can use their hands by collecting and measuring ingredients and helping mix items in bowls. Older children can turn on the oven, open and strain canned foods, and help carry dishes to the table. Another idea: take them shopping with you, each time allowing them to pick one new healthy food to try.
  1. According to a recent survey, more than two-thirds (67%) of moms claimed it was difficult to get their children to eat vegetables. After supplying these moms with canned foods and recipe ideas, this claim dropped to 17 percent.1 Hint, hint: canned corn, green beans and peas were all well-liked among children participating in a taste test.2 They’ll love this Sweet Corn Pudding.
  1. Stock your pantry—or “Cantry”—with canned fruits and vegetables so you can make spontaneous meals in no time at all. This Primavera Omelette is a perfect holiday brunch recipe that the children can help make and is full of canned vegetables.
  1. Don’t throw away your turkey leftovers! Gather up the kids to whip up several days’ worth of meals such as this Turkey Bolognese It’s loaded with onion, celery, tomatoes and carrots.
  1. Cooking for others is a nurturing act and also a great way to give back during the holidays. Spend an afternoon at a soup kitchen, where your children will not only feel the rewards of giving back but will learn a skill or two about large scale food production.

The holidays will always be about family. Instill healthy traditions now that can be passed on for generations to come.

Rachel Begun, MS, RDN, culinary nutritionist and Cans Get You Cooking Can-bassador.


  1. Canned Produce Plays Important Role in Increasing Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables—In-Home Pressure Test, Can Manufacturers Institute, December 2014.
  2. Canned Produce Plays Important Role in Increasing Consumption of Fruits & Vegetables– Canned Fruit and Vegetable Children’s Sensory Test, Can Manufacturers Institute, December 2014.

For more healthy ideas, take a look at these other posts from Together Counts!

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