The holidays are here, and no matter how hard you may try to prevent it, those visions of sugarplums are simply going to dance, dance, dance.
Studies have shown that children pursue holiday treats even after finishing a healthy meal. Hoping they’ll lose interest in chocolate kisses after turkey and stuffing? It’s a losing game. Teaching healthy eating habits to children is the real key – not outlawing holiday sweets like a Scrooge, but equipping our kids with the invaluable life skill of being able to say “when.”
Simply put, forbidding your children from eating the pies, cookies, and candy canes associated with the season could likely result in yearning, and subsequently lead to overindulgence (or, possibly worse, sneaking food).
Instead, limit access to sweets without restricting them entirely, and make more nutritious snacks like fruits and vegetables readily available and appealing.
Here are four additional tips for teaching healthy eating habits to children throughout the holidays.
- Emphasize moderation – not just with sugary sweets, but in every aspect of life – and encourage children to eat only foods they truly enjoy.
- During the meal, encourage children to try a small bite of all foods that are foreign to them.
- Drink more water. Avoid sugary drinks and sodas, which are notorious for their empty calories and adverse effects on the body. A glass of water prior to a meal can satisfy the sensation of hunger, and help to prevent overeating.
- If possible, review the ensuing holiday feast’s “menu” with your children in advance, so they are aware what foods will be served and when. Help them to pace themselves, not to gobble, and to save room for future courses and desserts.
Empowering your children with a modicum of control over what they eat during the holidays and when will help to establish a sense of trust and independence to last a lifetime.
And remember – should you need us during the holidays, KinderMender is open 365 days a year.