Tuesday, November 4, 2014

5 Tips for Healthier Eating During the Holidays

By: Heather Dyson

This is the time of year when life, especially with kids, gets pretty hectic. Halloween starts off the fall into winter celebrations in what feels like a whirlwind of parties, shopping and cooking. While these traditions are fun and exciting, they tend to revolve around food, most of which are not very healthy. Sometimes parents feel like it is OK to indulge their children on holidays, but it can easily become excessive, which can have a lasting effect on kids’ health. Many schools and child care centers hold parties filled with sweet treats and sugary drinks. Add that to the candy little ones bring home from parties and trick or treating, and a holiday treat soon becomes days or a weeks’ worth of sugary snacks.

The American Heart Association recommends that preschool aged children should consume no more than 4 teaspoons, or about 16 grams of added sugar per day (this includes sugar added to sweet foods, cereals, breads, crackers, yogurt, condiments, etc.) Unfortunately, studies show that children ages 1-3 consume as much as 12 teaspoons, or 48 grams, of added sugar per day!

Below are some tips for keeping your kids healthier during the holidays:

1) Offer to bring small bottled waters and cute fruit to parties. Here are some fun ideas for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays (Idea 1 and Idea 2).

2) Pack treat bags with fun non-food items and only one small treat.

3) Let children choose their favorite treats from parties and trick or treat to keep in a small Ziploc baggie and donate the rest. Let your child choose one small treat a day from bag and keep it in cupboard that is out of sight.

4) Invite the “Switch Witch” over after Halloween or Holiday parties.

5) Choose one of your family’s favorite cookie or dessert recipes to make for each holiday instead of making several varieties and freeze leftovers.

Holidays are special occasions that we all cherish, and seem even more special when you have a little one to celebrate with you! Focus on spending quality time with family and friends by making crafts, reading books and playing games with a holiday theme rather than focusing on food. A little indulgence is totally fine but by staying mindful and planning ahead, you and your wee ones can stay healthy throughout the holidays!
What are some ways that you keep your kids healthy during the holidays when making food and treat choices?


About the Author: Heather Dyson is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian who currently focuses on counseling patients with a variety of health situations, and in ages ranging from infancy to elderly. Click here to learn more about Heather.

32 comments :

  1. You'd be surprised how much of a difference just switching to water can be. That's all we drink with our meals now.

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    1. Switching to water is a great idea!!!!

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  2. My kids are so used to eating healthy the rest of the time that they are more likely to gorge on crudite than on sweets!

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    1. That is awesome! Good work on providing healthy food!!

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  3. Those are great tips. There are so many unhealthy (but tasty) foods around during this season. It is important to set limits.

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    1. I agree setting limits is a good idea. Who can deny anyone a piece of pumpkin pie?!

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  4. Awesome ideas for healthy options. Cute fruit is a great idea!

    http://bohonouveau.blogspot.ca/

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  5. Oh my gosh, as I was stuffing my face with Halloween candy I was reading this post! I seriously need to use that candy tip.

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    1. lol lol!! 1 or 2 pieces doesn't hurt :)

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  6. These are great tips, its easy to get off track during of the holidays!

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    1. Exactly! It is also the worst time to start a diet!!!

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  7. Love your tips! Also those pics are super cute! nice blog!

    www.simplysassysstyle.com

    dawn

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  8. Anytime can be a challenge, but especially around the holidays. Great post!

    www.patriciaeales.com

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  9. We definitely put healthy eating as a priority for the kids (we are working on it for the adults, but it is a little harder :)). My daughter is allowed one piece of candy per day, and we try to bring healthy snacks to her school for the kids.

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    1. That sounds like a great plan! Hope it works out for everyone in the family!

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  10. My kid's continue to be picky eaters even during the holidays so I am not too worried plus we keep candy from Halloween high and out of reach.

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    1. Haha :) just wait until they get taller ;)

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  11. These are useful tips. I admit I am more health conscience with the younger one than I was with my older kiddos.

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    1. Isn't it funny how we all grow and learn together? I bet that's why you are more concerned with your little ones diet than the older :)

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  12. Great ideas! It is so hard to eat healthy during the holidays! I want to help my son eat as healthy as possible.

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    1. It is soooo hard but if we make sure the options are available it is easier!

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  13. These are great tips. One of my proudest mom moments is when my daughter has the chance to choose a soda but chooses water instead.

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  14. Non food items are great for school classes too. You don't have to worry about allergies or general food dislikes.

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  15. Great tips! I try to only bake one or two treats for the holidays. There is way too much sugar everywhere.

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    1. Same here! And I refuse to take home any treats from anywhere we go!!

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  16. I definitely agree with setting limits. It can be hard during this time of year with all that tasty food around, but having family members and friends help to keep everyone accountable.

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    1. Maybe even just asking family members to bring a healthy dish instead of a billion desserts would help!! :)

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