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Family Holiday Meal

Make This Holiday a Successful Family Affair: 10 Mealtime Tips

December 7, 2016

Food is so often more than just fuel for the day, and cooking can be both a wonderful way to explore and experiment, and a great opportunity to enjoy time together as a family… Here at the SPLENDA LIVING® Blog we love to explore great ways to enjoy some of the favorites while helping you watch your family’s calorie intake from added sugar.

The holidays are traditionally a time for family and friends to share delicious food and drink in a merry atmosphere. People sitting around the table and noshing on all-things-festive, bringing to mind portraits by famous artists such as Norman Rockwell as well as those grainy black and white pictures taken by my camera-crazy Uncle Bob.

But think about it. In reality, how did all of that good-looking food get to the table and who prepared it? It did not just appear by magic. In decades gone by, it customarily fell to the women in the family to do the food shopping and meal preparation. However, it’s 2016, days away from 2017, and things have changed. Now many members of the family help with holiday meal preparation.

Another thing that has changed drastically over the years is our ability to make holiday foods less calorie-laden and sugary as they used to be. There is really no reason not to take the time to find ways to make traditional holiday recipes a little healthier. One thing I know for sure is that millions (myself included) use different SPLENDA® Sweetener Products at the holidays as well as year ‘round. Recipes that use SPLENDA® Sweeteners are a part of the “holiday tradition” in my home and have been ever since this versatile sugar substitute hit the shelves.

As I noted in my Thanksgiving blog it can be a bit problematic having too many cooks in the kitchen. However, that should not preclude family and friends from lending a helping hand. I’m not just talking about the adults either. Children of a certain age can and should be involved. Meal prep is an excellent time for adults to continue to be positive role models for the younger generation when it comes to balanced eating during the holidays.

So, here are the 10 tips to help make this holiday mealtime a successful family affair. Some are food specific; the others, not so much, but they are relevant to the holidays nonetheless.

10 Tips for Holiday Meal Prep with the Family

  1. When preparing and consuming holiday meals, play music versus having the television blaring. Everyone’s nerves will thank you, particularly when you have a house full of people.
  2. Do not try to please everyone’s wishes when it comes to the dishes you plan on serving unless they have special dietary needs. Keep it relatively simple; a person can only eat so much!
  3. Always have a vegetable plate available for guests who like to snack before meals. I can’t think of a better way for kids to help, than to have them clean the veggies and arrange them on a serving tray. (Wash those hands first, kiddos!)
  4. For family and friends who dare not step a foot in the kitchen, put them to work setting the table, being in charge of serving beverages, or running last minute errands. Don’t forget they should be enlisted for clean-up, too.
  5. Speaking of beverages, drinks are often a crucial part of holiday meal traditions. One way to avoid having guests fill up on high calorie liquids is to offer a variety of beverages made with no or less added sugar. Check out these beverage recipes made with SPLENDA® Sweetener Products to find some you like that definitely won’t break the “calorie bank.”
  6. Always offer cold water with the meal. A slice of lemon in the water is a nice touch.
  7. Reducing the amount of sugar in your favorite holiday recipes doesn’t have to be complicated. To achieve desired sweetness with fewer calories and less added sugars, use one of the different SPLENDA® Sweetener Products; this chart provides excellent guidance for making substitutions.
  8. Desserts!! Holiday meals would not be the same without desserts, some of which contain a lot of added sugar. This is where SPLENDA® Sweetener Products can make a difference. Lots of delicious dessert recipes here.
  9. Even if there is some resistance from guests, plan some type of physical activity before you serve dessert, be it a walk outdoors or a quick dance-off. For those who might not be able to participate, just going outside for a few minutes of fresh air can be refreshing.
  10. Smile. Enjoy each other’s company. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy holidays to you and yours!

I have been compensated for my time by Heartland Food Products Group, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog with Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Cooking and Baking with SPLENDA®For even more ideas on how to make SPLENDA® Sweeteners part of your everyday cooking, visit the Cooking & Baking section of this blog or visit the recipes section on

Sue Taylor is a consulting nutritionist with more than 35 years of experience. She is passionate about sharing her nutrition knowledge and fondness for good, healthy food. Sue will put relevant information in consumer terms and provide valuable perspective to clear up misinformation and confusion about nutrition and food safety.

December 7, 2016  |  POSTED BY: Sue Taylor, MS  |  IN: Cooking & Baking


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