Cheryl Tallman is the founder of Fresh Baby (www.FreshBaby.com). For more than 10 years, Fresh Baby helped has helped parents foster their children.s healthy eating habits and proactively respond to the childhood obesity epidemic that plagues our nation. Cheryl is the author and designer of the company's award-winning cookbooks and nutrition education products that support many stages of family life including: pregnancy, breastfeeding, introducing solid foods, and feeding toddlers, preschoolers and school-aged children.

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Fresh Ideas for Healthy Living

by Cheryl Tallman, Healthy Eating
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Homemade foods have always been healthier than processed, prepared, or restaurant meals which are generally much higher in fat, salt and calories than home cooked foods. Eating too much of these unhealthy foods can pack on the Holiday pounds and slow your kids down at school.

But let's face it, the days leading up to the holidays are hectic. Getting a home cooked dinner on the table during the holidays may seem to be an impossible feat, but here are few tips to ease the burden of getting dinner on the table during the hectic holiday season:

• The holidays are a great time to entertain with friends. Make dinner at home a reason to get together. Team up with a friend and have a family dinner at their house one night and switch to your house on another. Divide up the menu between families and have each family bring a dish.

• The Holidays are a great time to make family memories. Get closer to your kids. Invite them into the kitchen and teach them a few things about cooking. It’s a life skill that they will certainly thank you for some day. Some of the meals you make together can become family traditions for holidays to come!

• Invest in a slow cooker. This is fabulous machine for busy families on-the-go. A slow cooker allows you to make simple, one-dish meals in a snap. Simply prep the ingredients in the morning, turn the slow cooker on and come home to a delicious ready-to- eat dinner.

• Make foods in advance and freeze them in family sizes and individual servings too. Have some fun and cook with a friend, double each other's recipes, and split up the meals for both families.

• The clean and prep is often the most time consuming part of cooking. Buy pre-washed veggies in the produce section of stores. The "open and steam" convenience of these pre-washed products is great.

• Serve "no cook" side dishes with your dinners. Apples, pears, avocadoes, tomatoes are just few foods that don't need to be cooked and taste great all by themselves. A fruit or veggie plate makes a terrific side dish.

• Plan on Holiday leftovers. Don't spend all your time in the kitchen cooking just one big feast. Make enough food to make several "leftover meals." Happy cooking ... and Happy Holidays!

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