Author: Heather K. Mackie, MS, RD, LD Week of December 24, 2012 This is the time of year for many to overindulge, eat many family favorites, and enjoy special treats.  However, could this time of year be about more? As we know, we have to eat, but cooking and eating together as a family can bring comfort and joy to our lives.  Nourishing ourselves for health can come from our kitchen and dining rooms.  Communication and human interaction are an important part of our well-being.  This can also be found in our kitchen and dining rooms this time of year.  Below are a few ways to make food and nutrition integral parts of the holiday season. Cook Together. Preparing food can be a soothing way to share time and bring generations together.  A time for the loving grandmother to teach her granddaughter how to prepare the family favorite dishes.  This can also be a time to learn what is going in your family’s lives while you chip, measure, mix, and stir.   This is another wonderful opportunity to modify family favorite recipes and make them bariatric friendly.  Our ENS+Protein in the Vanilla Cake Batter flavor makes a great base for a bariatric friendly egg nog! Eat Together. Making sit down meals a priority as often as you can.  If you live alone, reach out to family, friends, and co-workers to share a meal.  Take time to relax and eat together and enjoy each other’s company at home, a restaurant, or work.  The place is not important; being together is what is important. Reinstate Rituals. Your family may have rituals around mealtime – who sets the table, joining of hands, candles, festive touches, flowers, favorite dishes, and special linens.  Make family rituals a part of everyday meals.  That is what ties us to special memories and inspires hope for a happy and healthy future.  Consider making a snowman with the kiddos.  If you don’t have kiddos, ask to borrow your neighbor’s.  I’m sure they would love the break! Share the Warmth. Slow down and share food, conversation, tears, laughter, and the simple joys of life with others.  Even children can learn to be a part of mealtime memories.  Give everyone the gift of attention and time to share what is important to each person.  You can also spend time with loved ones by taking a walk around the block together or challenge each to a dance off on a game system! Invite Others to Join You for Mealtime. A sense of community is one of the ways to celebrate the special meaning of the holidays in our lives.  By joining with others around the table with healthy holiday dishes may help to take comfort from the blessings of nourishing food. From our family at Celebrate Vitamins to your family, we wish you a happy, healthy holiday season!