Preview: Healthy Holiday Eating for Kids- Holidays don’t have to derail the healthy lifestyle you created for your family! Try these tips to keep your kids eating healthy this holiday season.
Something about celebrating the “most wonderful time of the year” makes people very hungry. Food and treats are such a big part of enjoying the holiday. Christmas cookies, fruit cake (do people still at that?!), Egg Nog… these are more than foods; they have become traditions.
As cute as the Santa cookies and reindeer cupcakes are, the last thing you want to give your kids is a sugar charge when they are already excited about the holiday. Yet every event you attend during the holiday season is full of “holiday treats” and endless buffets of comfort food. Its like a table full of temptation.
You work so hard all year trying to keep your kids eating healthy foods. You spend extra money on the healthier items at the grocery store. You fight battle after battle about cookies and Halloween candy. You know giving them the run of the Christmas buffet is just going to cause stomach aches and mom guilt. You don’t have to ruin your whole year’s work in the month of December. There is a way to enjoy the holiday and still stick to the healthy lifestyle you created for your family!
I have been thinking a lot about how I plan to keep my own family on track over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I pulled together a few things I am planning to do to avoid the sugar-filled snacks and over eating. I want to share with you 5 tips for healthy holiday eating for kids that you can try with your family this year!
(I should preface this list by saying that I agree an occasional treat is fine. Christmas is a holiday and it is okay to indulge in a few special sweets or traditional foods. Each mom has her own threshold of what she feels is an acceptable indulgence. Each child is different and has his/her own individual dietary needs. The beauty of being a mom is knowing what is best for your child.)
These suggestions are my own experience and not intended to provide medical or dietary advice. Please consult your medical professional for advice.
5 Tips for healthy holiday eating for kids:
~ Fill them up with healthy foods before you go– If you suspect that the holiday party will be full of sweets and unhealthy choices, feed the kids before you go. If their bellies are already full from a healthy meal, they are less likely to grab for every little treat. (Note that I said less likely ;))
~Host– If you know that Aunt Meredith cooks with Crisco and puts a pound of butter and sugar in her apple pie (and that makes your child run like a banshee!) maybe you can offer to host Christmas Eve this year. This will give you a chance to pick the menu items and add some healthier options if you choose. She might appreciate taking a year off from hosting duty!
~Bring a dish– (or two!) Whenever possible, offer to bring a dish. This will ensure you have a healthy option or two for your family. Try to bring something filling or provide an alternative for the most unhealthy dish. For example, if you suspect there will be a big Christmas cake, bring a healthy dessert option.
Like these Apple Nachos:
~Make the kids’ plates– If you let your children make their own plates, you can guarantee they will fill it with cupcakes. I know mine would. If you make their plates for them, you can fill it with veggies, lean meats, and any other healthy options. When you aren’t sure what might be healthier, look for items that are fresh or homemade. Store bought options tend to have more sugar and preservatives than recipes made from scratch in someone’s kitchen.
~Keep healthy snacks on hand– Have a bag of dried fruit or unsweetened applesauce pouches in your purse or diaper bag. You might not want to pull out a bag of treats at Grandma’s house but if you are attending a community “breakfast with Santa” type event, you can always hand your child a healthier snack from your purse. Small bottles of water are easy to throw in your bag and make a great substitute for soda, Kool-Aid, or juice.
This year you don’t need to dread those holiday parties thinking you will be bringing home sugar-filled, overexcited kids with a belly ache. With a few simple adjustments, everyone can enjoy the holiday- even mom!
Now go enjoy Christmas with your family without worrying about healthy holiday eating for kids this holiday!