There’s really no way to hide from the giant sugar rush that rolls around in December – unless you put you and your family up in a bubble. The sugar-addled holidays may be inevitable but that doesn’t mean you have to cave to their alluring powers and give up any sense of nutrition. That’s why we have gathered some easy tips to inject some healthier eating in your kid’s tummies amidst holiday excesses.
1) The Starter Food: At family dinners or gatherings, serve veggies or broth-based soups first. This will help in filling up your kids so they’ll be less likely to over eat higher-caloric foods after.
2) Clean Hot Chocolate: Rather than using the mixed packages of hot chocolate loaded with sugar, make a clean version of hot chocolate for the kids with skim milk and cocoa powder.
3) Don’t be Part of the “Clean Plate Club”: Let your child know it’s okay if they don’t finish their plate completely even if they served more food to themselves than they could eat. You don’t want them to eat unnecessarily if they are already full.
4) Create a Kid’s Drawer: This can apply all-year as well, but create a drawer specifically for your kids in the refrigerator and fill it with healthy fruits, veggies and any other healthy snacks (yogurt, cheeses, etc) hand selected by them. Then, give the kid’s total access to that draw so they are more likely to make healthier food choices when it’s snack time. Make sure the drawer is stocked plentifully during the holidays to stick to healthy choices throughout all the holiday temptations.
5) Refer them to Good Quality Chocolates and Sweets: Explain to your child the difference between ‘quality’ items and ‘junk’ items (cheap, chemically processed sweets). Allow your child to occasionally have these ‘junk’ items to deflate any false hopes they have with these well-marketed items. Have a box on hand filled with good quality chocolates and treats that they can exchange with the ‘junk’ items they have likely received over the holidays. Overtime, they will appreciate the quality sweets and start to happily exchange them.
6) Don’t Make them Feel Guilty: Always remember here that the most important thing is not to make your child feel guilt about enjoying the foods they love. Do make it known that it is okay to enjoy treats once in a while and in MODERATION and encourage them to be active.
7) Smaller Portions at Buffets: Teach your kids about moderation by showing them how to stick to smaller portions of food at holiday buffet tables. While they may want to try everything, help them prioritize the items they want to try the most and eat small portions of each.
8) Light Snacks Before Parties: To take the edge off of hunger before holiday parties and gatherings, encourage your child to have a healthy light meal or snack so they are less likely to go crazy when first encountering the food table.
Montefiore Medical Center. (2014, November 17). Ten Easy Tips to Keep Kids Healthy During the Holidays. Retrieved from: http://www.newswise.com/articles/ten-easy-tips-to-keep-kids-healthy-during-the-holidays
Ponessa-Fratello, J. (2010, December 13). Five Tips to Keep Kid’s Holiday Eating in Check. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanne-ponessa-fratello/five-tips-to-keep-kids-ho_b_795660.html