It starts at Thanksgiving. Lavish family meals are whipped up, pies and cookies are laid out, and somehow the big gatherings around the table, the snacking, and the decadent recipes seem to last until New Year’s. Allowing your kids to enjoy a few treats is fine, but if you’d like to keep your family’s sugar and fat consumption down during the holidays, our tips can help.
- What’s going on in your own kitchen? Are you responsible for bringing the mashed potatoes and gravy at Thanksgiving? Substitute skim milk for cream in your recipes for a healthier take. Do your kids have a sweet tooth? While they might snack on chocolatey treats at parties, offer fruit and nuts at home for a healthy and sweet snack that doesn’t load on the refined sugar.
- Remember that over-scheduling your kids often leads to eating on the go. Instead of making back to back trips to the mall and a friend’s party with a few errands in between, schedule your kids’ days so that they have time for a healthy meal at home and are less likely to grab a burger at the mall’s food court.
- That healthy, home-cooked meal is especially important before going to holiday parties. If your kids are fueled by complex carbohydrates, veggies, and protein, they’ll be less likely to grab at unhealthy snacks by the handful. Of course, no kid is going to turn down a peanut butter cookie with a Hershey’s kiss in the center, but they’ll be less likely to overindulge if their blood sugar is stable and their bellies are full.
- Get moving! Not every holiday tradition takes place by the snack table. Do some window shopping downtown to get everyone walking. Go for a hike now that the weather is more mild. Get your kids a toy that will keep them active this year, like a bicycle or a dancing pad, rather than a new video game.
- But remember not to obsess over every sugar cookie or bite of stuffing. Food is a part of many families’ holiday traditions, and can be a fun way of bonding and creating memories. Just remember to keep the unhealthy meals and snacks to a minimum on a daily basis.
Do you have any recipes up your sleeve that kids love around holiday time, but that keep fat and calories at bay? Let us know! We love hearing about different healthy eating traditions from our families.