Traditionally, many Americans celebrate the holidays with family and friends by spending time together and sharing a delicious home-cooked meal. But this holiday season is like none before. Without endangering the health of your relatives and friends, how can you safely celebrate the holidays this year?
Most people don’t have access to a space that is big enough to socially distance and keep everyone at least six feet apart. However, if the weather and local guidelines permit, socializing and eating outdoors are great ways to promote safety within groups.
Here are some options for safely celebrating the holidays and sharing a meal with family and friends:
- Personal delivery service: If relatives or friends live nearby, you could prepare a meal, pack it up in individual serving sizes and deliver it to their front door. Follow food safety guidelines if you choose this route. You can brush up on those at the USDA site.
- Share a meal with a video call: Not all of our loved ones are tech-savvy enough to use one of the video call services. If family members have an email address, one person in their ‘bubble’ could help them access a link to a call with family and friends. Prop up the phone or the tablet on the table or hook your computer to your TV for a bigger screen and ‘share’ the meal with each other. This is the safest way to be with each other (virtually) while honoring family traditions.
- Consider ordering a meal from a local restaurant. Try something different this year. Many restaurants are struggling to stay in business during this time and need your support. If your budget allows it, order a “to go” lunch, dinner or desert from one of the many businesses offering holiday meals. You can enjoy each other in person or virtually without the meal prep.
- While you are modifying your traditions, try a new recipe: VHA Healthy Teaching Kitchen (HTK) channel on YouTube has MANY great recipes to try. Here’s one from the Miami VA to help you use your leftover turkey Holiday Bake.
Whatever plans you make during this holiday season, keep safety and health as your top priorities. For more ways to eat healthy to boost your immune system, schedule a visit (telephone, video or face-to-face) with your VA dietitian soon.