Insight from Natural Health Leaders | The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi | Raw Foods: The Greatest Gift You Can Give This Holiday Season
A boy peels an orange next to a Christmas tree
Fruit-Powered Digest Issues Insight from Natural Health Leaders Issue 37 The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi

Raw Foods: The Greatest Gift You Can Give This Holiday Season

The Best in Family Health by Karen Ranzi - Fruit-Powered Digest

The holidays are the perfect time to introduce more fresh raw vegan foods into your kids’ lives. During the holidays, families are more inclined to prepare food from scratch rather than grabbing fast-food meals from places featuring unrecognizable, mostly fried foodless food.

Greater varieties of food abound at holiday time, so the kids likely will be more open and adventurous, ready to experience different foods and recipes.

You can use holiday characters such as Santa Claus to make the food more enticing and festive or you can decorate platters with holiday themes such as a Hanukkah Menorah or Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In my experience, puppetry and the use of fairytale characters brings heightened interest to food. Using figurines and artistry are excellent for introducing young children to fresh, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. In the spirit of play, it encourages them to participate and sample natural foods with different colors and flavors.

Timothy Radley, aka "DJ Shamrock," prepares Santa treats
Timothy Radley, aka “DJ Shamrock,” prepares Santa treats at a potluck at Arnold’s Way on December 21, 2013.

With all the heavy animal foods, always indigestibly combined with processed carbohydrates (the usual junk and party fare) typically offered at holiday time, children, whose bodies and brains are still developing, are more prone to getting sick. Parents can be good health models by setting an example to their children of their conviction to a raw vegan lifestyle. They can also make sure to have plenty of delicious raw foods on hand during holiday meals and for their preparation­. Five to nine or more servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day will boost children’s immune systems and also provide the necessary alkaline minerals—calcium and potassium for muscle and bone strength. This is fundamentally beneficial for them especially because the winter holidays come with cold weather in many areas.

An excellent aspect of the holiday season is that most families stay at home for the holidays instead of going out to restaurants, where empty calories and overeating are the norm. Eating at home, especially foods lovingly prepared by parents aware of the supreme benefits of fresh plant foods, teaches children yummy, healthful choices. Once the kids get used to simple natural recipes and grow to like them, they will always choose healthful foods above junk foods.

Children love fruit, and that’s a great place to start. Colorful fruit platters designed as holiday characters or fruit in baskets made of real fruit such as a pineapple shell filled with bite-sized fruit pieces are so attractive to children of all ages. Eating an abundance of nutrient-dense raw vegan foods energizes us and keeps our spirits up during a period that can also have its stressful moments.

A family shares salad during a Christmas meal

Discover Karen Ranzi’s Top 8 Tips for Getting Children to Eat Raw Foods During the Holidays!

Stuffed Herb Pesto Holiday Appetizers

Hungry for more? Check out Karen’s Stuffed Herb Pesto Holiday Appetizers recipe!

About the author

Karen Ranzi

Karen Ranzi

Karen Ranzi, M.A., of is an expert on nutrition, family development and raising healthy raw children. She has led a low-fat raw vegan diet since the mid-1990s and is the author of Creating Healthy Children: Through Attachment Parenting and Raw Foods, also available in Barnes & Noble and Whole Foods Markets, and Raw Vegan Recipe Fun for Families: 115 Easy Recipes and Health Tips for Energetic Living. Karen also lectures and consults on the raw food diet and lifestyle. Read all Karen's The Best in Family Health columns for Fruit-Powered Digest. E-mail Karen and join her monthly e-magazine, featuring articles, tips and recipes.

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