This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Kids — check out the new Snack Packs!
How do you approach snacking during the holidays? At our house, I’d definitely say that we up our snacking game from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. It occurs to me that we’re going for a feeling of generosity around food — though I don’t think we’ve ever put that into words, or even consciously decided it. I suppose it’s just part of our family holiday culture, developed over the last 20+ years.
I’m sure we’re not alone — we pull out the decorations in late November, and then it’s all about twinkle lights in every corner, votives on the coffee table, the scent of cinnamon and spices in the air, and more than the usual amount of food around. You too?
I want the kids to be able to walk into the kitchen — after school, in the mornings, on the weekends — and see favorite food options that feel like the holidays. I want to have food on hand for visitors and guests. And I want snack options that are quick and easy because our holiday schedule is often jam-packed. In the next two weeks we’ve got Scrooge performances, band and orchestra concerts, choir rehearsals, and I’m pretty sure there’s a clarinet recital coming up as well. : )
Over the last few years, instead of having the default for our holiday snacking be candy — a big bag of whatever is on sale and wrapped in red and green and gold foil — we’ve focused on options that evoke our family holiday traditions, but aren’t centered on straight-up sugar. To be sure, I still end up eating more sweets during the holidays than at other times of the year, but with a little forethought, we can do better.
Some of our holiday favorites that aren’t candy? Here are six:
A big bowl of clementines — they’re just coming into season and are so yummy.
Canisters of salty mixed nuts — we seem to only buy this kind of thing during the holidays, so it feels like it’s holiday food, you know?
Wassail on the stove, or ready to be warmed up — I base ours on a recipe from my mom and it has fresh orange and lemon juice in it.
Sliced veggies with our family cheese dip — it’s a funny little cheese dip made from cream cheese, and we only make it during the holidays.
Fresh whole pineapple — somehow when we were newly married we started giving whole pineapples tied up with red bows to neighbors and friends as a holiday gift. Since then, eating fresh pineapple has become a Christmas tradition for us.
Portable yogurt — it’s got protein that helps it feel substantial, and there are so many fun grab and go options to choose from.
In fact, we just tried the new Snack Packs from Stonyfield Kids and they’re a hit! Super convenient on busy days — you don’t even need a spoon. They come with pretzels or graham cracker sticks for dipping into the yogurt and scooping up. They make it really easy to head out the door quickly, and they were perfect on our epic back-to-back road trips over Thanksgiving.
There’s just something about a portable dipping snack that kids love. I remember the cheese and cracker packs when I was a kid and I felt the same way! I think kids can sense it’s designed with them in mind, and it feels like a special, unusual treat. Plus I love that Stonyfield Kids cut the sugar in their products by a significant amount.
Here’s what I know: ANY food can become a holiday tradition, and it can be as healthy as you prefer. You just have to start. Try a new recipe, or new snack this month, and if your family loves it, bring it back next December, and the December after that. And tada! Now you have a holiday food tradition. It doesn’t have to be a food that shows up in a Charles Dicken’s novel, it can truly be anything. For example, one of our Christmas Eve food traditions is 7-layer dip. So Christmas-y. Hah!
How about you? Do you find your family snacking habits change during the holidays? Have you figured out food options that keep your family healthy but still feel fun and festive? What are your favorite foods this time of year?