Almost every parent experiences how much their kids slow down or become hyperactive after eating holiday foods loaded with sugar, refined flour and the wrong types of fat. Promote healthier habits this holiday season to give your family a head start before the New Year.
When you’re feeding little ones who inevitably want “holiday-themed” everything during the holiday season, you have to make a special effort to make sure you’re keeping their snacks on the healthier side. Luckily, there are plenty of great festive yet healthy holiday snacks out there to choose from.
Here are some tips to make the festive season healthy yet fun-filled and special:
Make fruit visible:
Keep fresh fruit out where your family can see it. Pears, apples, bananas and peaches are in season. Mini apples are also a hit because they’re so tiny and cute. An edible centrepiece like a Christmas tree made out of berries, kiwis and melon is a creative way to make fruit festive too. Make fruit attractive and kids will eat twice as much.
Focus on fun rather than food:
Make memories for your children that will last a lifetime but that won’t instil habits that detract from good health. Create non-food holiday traditions for your family — like decorating the tree, making holiday crafts or visiting a festive light display. If you focus more on fun, it’s easier to focus less on food.
Plan out healthy snacks:
Stock up on fruit, vegetables, string cheese and yoghurt for quick, convenient and healthy snacks. Plan to give kids a snack whenever meals are more than four hours apart. Enlist your kids’ help in finding healthy snack recipes.
Talk about trade-offs and moderation:
Don’t cut sweet treats out entirely but do limit them. Talk about saving sweets for special times during the holidays and enlist your kids to keep track of what they have eaten to help them be mindful. Steer them to make decisions like having a small piece of dessert now and sharing the rest or saving it for another day.
Keep active with your kids to burn off those extra holiday calories and stay fit. When weather permits, go for a walk or to the park. If you are stuck indoors, make a game out of running inside or playing a few rounds of a fitness or dance video game. Short 10-minute fitness breaks make a big difference.
Stay on schedule when possible:
Try to serve small, healthy meals at the regular time each day regardless of your party schedule. When you go to a party, you and your kids won’t be starving, which can lead to overeating. Make sure everyone is getting enough sleep and try to avoid late nights that throw younger kids off of their regular schedule.
Treats are not only food:
Whisper in grandma’s ear that they can rather bring little non-food treats like stickers or box cars or bring money and place it in a special holiday box. At the end of the holiday season, the kids can spend this money on something special or add it to their savings for the year.
Celebrate, don’t stress:
When it really is party time, relax a little. Enjoy the foods that make the season special. If your child has generally been eating well all year long, a few splurges along the way are okay.