The holidays mean family gatherings, errand running, and a plenitude of tempting meals and snacks. Allowing your children to enjoy the season is the name of the game, but keeping them from overdoing sugars and fats is also a challenge this time of year. Our tips will help you to curb unhealthy eating for the whole family.
1. Beware of over scheduling and eating on the go. Planning on visiting Santa at the mall, doing some holiday shopping afterwards, and then stopping by a friend’s holiday party? This is a perfect recipe for unhealthy snacking. When children are out and about, they’re likely to want to grab some food at the mall food court, and then snack on the sweet and sugary treats presented to them. Planning your day so that your kids get a healthy meal at home, and are feeling full and satisfied when they encounter sweet snacks at a party will cut down on the amount of fat and sugar they eat.
2. In fact, before any holiday gatherings, make sure your kids fuel up on a meal beforehand that provides them with complex carbohydrates and protein, so that they’re not overcome with hunger when they encounter party food. A few bites of holiday snacks are fine, but they should not be a substitute for a meal.
3. Take a look at your own holiday recipes, and find ways to introduce healthy ingredients into the mix. Substitute skim milk for whole when making gravy or mashed potatoes. Remember to include veggie sides at holiday meals. While cookies and candy are traditional holiday treats, fruit and nuts can be festive as well.
4. Not every holiday tradition needs to revolve around the snack table or the dinner table. Outdoor activities such as building snowmen, ice skating, and sledding get your kids moving! Ask your daycare provider about the festive activities your children are participating in at school, and introduce your own variations at home!
5. Don’t worry about every little bite your children take of fattening or sugary holiday foods. A bit of indulgence is okay! A few bites of chocolate on festive occasions is fine, as long as that holiday snacking doesn’t become an everyday occurrence.
What are some of your favorite, healthy, holiday recipes? Share them with us in the comments section!