When we think holidays we often get drawn to ‘unhealthier foods’, high sugar foods and snacks, festive baking – you name it! Holidays can be a difficult time and one where we often see diet culture rear its ugly head. Making us think we should always be choosing the healthier option or we need to earn that food. For kids this can challenge your ideas of what your are feeding them? or try and make up for that sugary Christmas cookie with a plate full of veggies at dinner.
Maybe you are worried with the extra calories they are consuming of snacks, they aren’t getting enough of the nutrients they need. So today we are going to talk about how to navigate this holiday season.
This is going to be the hardest step of them all – it can challenge our sense of what is ok, and what is healthy. But today I am sharing my top 5 ways to navigate Christmas treats without the stress and STILL make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need:
1. Stick to regular meal times
This can keep structure in your kids day and maintain that expectation that they eat at the dinner table!
2. Let them go all in
That’s right let them eat it. The first time the festive snack is available, let them eat what they would like. This might mean they eat one ginger bread cookie, it might mean they eat 4. But this will help them understand that food is allowed and accessible to them. From here serve it up with their usual snack.
3. Always serve fruit or veggies up with their festive snack
you could probably guess this one from how I ended the last. But serve it up with healthier snack items and you might be surprised about how much more comfortable they feel with the healthier snack when the unhealthier one is on their plate!
4. Get them involved in cooking
it can be a fun time to cook so this Is a great time to get kids involved in the process. Forget about just cooking healthy foods, and enjoy the fun that is cooking.
If you are looking for some cooking inspiration, check out the Kid’s Christmas Cookbook.
5. Work on their relationship with food
Most importantly use this as an opportunity to foster a healthy relationship with all food, instead of worrying about the ‘nutrition’ they are getting from it. Not everything we eat has to be for its nutrients and it’s the same for kids.
While I have shared some tips on how to encourage those foods still in their diet, this can be a really good time to model behaviour and show that these foods are still allowed and ok. We often put a moral compass on foods that is really not needed.
Carbohydrates and sugars are a normal and ok part of any humans diet, especially kids. So let them enough it, and use this time to focus on their relationship with their body, their body trust and their relationship with food. While it might not always seem like it, how you act around these foods at these festive times can have life long impact on how they see these foods. So most of all – enjoy them yourselves too with out the needs to ‘earn’ it through exercise, or start your diet in the new year.