Jump Start the New You: Healthy Holiday Eating


The day after Election Day I was lucky in that I had already booked my entire day solid with community based public health and nutrition efforts (more on that another time), calls about Value Added case studies, and for the very last part of the day a class to a cohort of women who I met back in September. These women are part of a local effort led by faith and community leaders here on the East Side of St. Paul: Family Values For Life's Jump Start To The New You.

With Election Day in mind, I started the class with a note that eating is more than a way we sustain ourselves. It's how we show love to others, particularly during the holidays and in the end how we nourish our bodies allows us to spread that love further and longer and allows us to fight against societal injustices and for causes we champion. I returned to this theme throughout the class. With each tip we discussed how one choice after another adds up and each person has to choose which substitution or habit they practice. Small changes add up. Overhauling years of habits or recipes can be daunting enough that you might just give up. The correlation to our current state of affairs struck me personally.

For my second class (our first was in September), I was asked to present on healthy holiday eating tips. In the spirit of finding a model that works and not duplicating efforts so I can get more impact in multiple ways, I found several resources online that I compiled into a handout for the participants and an instructor guide with caloric details and added information:

I also provided a USDA printout for additional substitution tips.

These tips went over well, with a lively discussion about what substitutions were realistic, humor about confronting family members about removing a tiny bit of sugar from their sweet potato pie recipe, or lamenting over plating up vegetables before turkey or ham. By far the yogurt for cream tip was the most popular. It offered the perfect connection between nourishing ourselves as an act of radical self love and loving others enough to make sacrifices ourselves in order to be healthy and around for more holidays to come. I genuinely enjoyed getting to know these women and hope we have more classes to offer like these in our community soon (Urban Oasis previously offered classes before dissolving in September). 

You can download PDFs of the instructor version and participant version for your own personal or professional use. Please attribute the information to their authors.