Brighten the holidays by making your health and safety a priority. Take the 12 steps below to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy—and ready to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Wash hands often to help prevent the spread of germs. It’s flu season and coronavirus lives amongst us. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Bundle up to stay dry and warm. Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: light, warm layers, gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof boots. Keep an emergency preparedness kit and warm blankets in your vehicle.
  3. Don’t drink and drive or let others drink and drive. Whenever anyone drives drunk, they put everyone on the road in danger. Choose not to drink and drive and help others do the same.
  4. Be smoke-free. Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke. Smokers have greater health risks because of their tobacco use, but nonsmokers are also at risk when exposed to tobacco smoke.
  5. Fasten seat belts while driving or riding in a motor vehicle. Buckle up every time, no matter how short the trip and encourage passengers to do the same.
  6. Get exams, screenings and vaccinations. Ask your health care provider what exams and vaccinations you need and when to get them. Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives.
  7. Practice fire safety. Most residential fires occur during the winter months, so don’t leave fireplaces, space heaters, food cooking on stoves, or candles unattended. Replace light sets with broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires or loss connections. Keep plugs off the ground away from puddles and snow. Have an emergency plan and practice it regularly.
  8. Prepare food safely. Remember these simple steps: Wash hands and surfaces often, avoid cross-contamination, cook foods to proper temperatures and refrigerate foods promptly.
  9. Eat healthy, stay active. Eat fruits and vegetables which pack nutrients and help lower the risk for certain diseases. Limit your portion sizes and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Also, be active for at least 30 minutes per day for adults and 60 minutes a day for youth.
  10. Get your sleep. Adequate sleep promotes health and vitality and provides energy and brain power to our day. Adults need 7- 9 hours per night and youth need more with 6 – 12 years of age requiring 9 – 12 hours per night and teenagers needing 8 – 10 hours per night.
  11. Stay hydrated. Adequate water is needed to support your immune system. Depending on your age, how much you need varies – most adults need 8 or more cups per day and children will need less.
  12. Manage holiday stress. Holiday stress is real and up to 38% of people feel it according the American Psychological Association. Try these tips to beat stress:
  • Acknowledge your feelings. This is the first step in managing holiday stress or blues.
  • Reach out to others. Connecting with others can offer support and companionship.
  • Plan ahead. Take steps to minimize last minute scrambling.
  • Set a holiday budget and stick to it. Financial stress can be minimized when you follow a budget.
  • Give yourself a break. Find something that helps you clear your mind and do it regularly.
  • Expect imperfection. If you set lower expectations, you will likely be less
  • disappointed.
  • Remember what makes you happy. Stay true to yourself and be grateful for what brings you joy.
  • Give back. Helping others might just help you too.

Recipe: Banana & Dark Chocolate Oat Bar

This makes a nutritious and delicious on-the-go breakfast bar or snack for the busy holiday season. Try it paired with a piece of fruit and your milk of choice for a quick breakfast or mindfully eat it as an afternoon snack or dessert.

Serving Size: 1 Bar | Yield: 20 Servings | Method: Bake


  • 4 Ripe medium bananas
  • 2/3 cup Peanut butter
  • 5 tbsp Honey
  • 4 cups Old fashioned oats
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 2/3 cup Walnuts
  • 4 oz Dark chocolate


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan or 1″ rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter and honey. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir until well combined.
  3. In a large bowl, mash bananas with a fork or masher until most of the lumps are gone. Pour in peanut butter/honey mixture and stir until well combined.
  4. Add the oats, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine well. Then, press oat mixture into prepared pan with the back of a measuring cup.
  5. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool. Once bars are cool, gently melt chocolate in microwave or over stove-top and drizzle it over the bars. Place bars in freezer for 10 minutes or until firm. Cut bars into long narrow shapes similar to granola bars, roughly 1.3″ wide by 4.5″ long, or 20 each per 9″ x 13″ pan.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at, Mayo Clinic at & National Safety Council at