1. Adding variety and surprise
There is nothing quite like traditional Hanukkah latkes. However, Hanukkah is also a great opportunity to be creative and surprising and introduce your family members to various vegetables that should be incorporated into several meals a day and legumes that should be incorporated into at least one meal a day. You can make good use of the opportunity that all family members are home in the afternoon and evening hours and try some new, healthier recipes for the traditional holiday meals: Incorporate vegetables (carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, cauliflower), legumes (lentils, peas) and herbs (parsley, dill etc.), replace white flour with whole wheat flour or lentil flour, and try to replace deep frying with baking of course. If anything, the "deep fried feast" can be used as a learning opportunity on the role of the various oils and fats in our nutrition, which of them are considered healthier and which should be avoided. Read more in the article "Switching to Consumption of Healthier Oils".
2. Celebrate with symbolism
Over the years, the lighting of the candle turned into real celebrations, with doughnuts in all colors, toppings and sizes, latkes and other snacks and sweets accompanying this joyous occasion. The nutritional rainbow also has an environmental benefit. It encourages us to consume more natural food and less ultra-processed food, thereby reducing food waste and having a positive impact on the environment. Therefore, let us go back to our roots, cut back on store-bought and unhealthy snacks, and celebrate the miracle of the oil jug by doing with a single doughnut and a latke or two, which can also be made healthier if we add some vegetables or legumes to them and bake them or if we make some smaller doughnuts ourselves.
3. Family dinner for parents and children
The nutritional rainbow encourages eating among family and friends by preparing food together at home, thereby reinforcing social and family bonds. The lighting of the candles is an opportunity to talk to children about the importance of regular and healthy meals, away from the disruptive influence of the screens that over the last two years have taken too much of their daily routine. The lighting of the candles can serve as a basis for regular family dinners for parents and children and as an opportunity to introduce the children to vegetables and legumes they may not like very much, by preparing some latkes together. You should also remember that several studies found that regular meals help keep the children healthy, and therefore it is especially important and recommended to maintain this routine in times of school vacations and holidays.
4. Keeping active
When it's cold outside, maybe raining, it can be an opportunity for some original family activities at home together. Living room dancing, shared fitness exercises in front of YouTube videos, even exercises for going up and down the stairs at home. There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to be more creative and to realize that we can also engage in indoor physical activity at home. Here are some ideas from the article "Keeping Active even with the Coronavirus Restrictions". Physical activity also lifts your spirit and gives you quite a few moments of different and special experiences with the children, but it does more than just that. You should also take into account that every minute of physical exercise counts and helps reduce the risk for health complications associated with a "sedentary" lifestyle, when you sit in front of a screen all day during the vacation. Read more on the importance of physical activity at home.
5. Cutting back on screen times
The last two years have increased screen use among children and adults alike, whether for school, work or entertainment. Hanukkah days and nights at home can be used for some screen-free activities for the whole family. Play some board games, go-fish, Taki, charade, do some cooking or baking together. These could all be wonderful ways to have some good time and some bonding moments, without flashing lights, notifications, apps and likes. If you just believe it, it is Efsharibari. After all, Hanukkah is a feast of miracles and wonders. Read more on a sensible use of screen time.