Holiday celebrations offer an array of temptations that can seduce even the most diehard organic parents and kids into abandoning healthful nutrition habits. And calorie-laden foods pose special challenges for thousands of American children and adults struggling with the proverbial battle of the bulge. 

“The key to successfully navigating the holiday season for your family is to plan ahead by outlining a practical weight-management strategy that doesn’t leave you and your children feeling deprived, but will help kids and their parents to avoid weight gain during the next couple of months,” says Netty Levine, a registered dietitian at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. 

“The good news is that adults and children alike can enjoy the wonderful foods of the holiday season, as long as they do so in moderation,” she adds. “Limiting portions, making sure that children are eating nutritious meals and bringing something healthy to a holiday party are all ways to help to prevent weight gain over the holidays.” 

Over the next few days, I’ll post Levine’s holiday weight-management tips for families. Let’s get started with these: 

Preparation. Instead of putting family members on diets, practice healthful eating before the holidays begin by changing the proportions of the foods you serve. Start by helping children divide their plates into four imaginary sections: fruit, vegetables, starch and protein. Serve low-fat or nonfat milk and/or water with meals. 

Party Planning. If you’re going to a party, keep the rest of the day’s food selections healthier. Cut organic red, yellow and green peppers into small strips, and store them in plastic snack bags. Buy organic baby carrots in prepackaged bags, or prepare your own to give to your kids when they want a snack. Before leaving for a party, offer these colorful veggies to help curb appetites. By snacking beforehand, kids will be less tempted to overeat at parties. 

Tune in tomorrow for more holiday tips.