And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful stressful time of the year.
Your Guide to Surviving Holiday Treats with Kids
Fuel them before the party. Offer up a balanced meal or snack prior to heading out. The goal here is to FUEL (not just FEED them) with nutrient-dense foods including some quality protein (nuts, legumes, chicken, fish), fruit or veggies, and healthy fats. The proteins and fats will keep them satiated. So they may have two cookies instead of ten. You will have peace of mind knowing they ingested some goodness today, and it’s A-OK if they indulge a little. Just bring healthy snacks for the car ride if there’s no time for a meal.
Control what you can control. At home you and I get to decide what goes on the table. At someone else’s home we do not. Trying to control what our kids eat can backfire. Trust me, I still struggle with this being a nutrition and a mom. However, I am also well aware of what happens when I tell my girls they can’t have [ fill in the sugary snack here ]. That’s all they can think about. Plus they are more likely to have a fit over getting that [ fill in the sugary snack here ]. Even worse, our kiddos may sneak a treat when mom and dad are not looking. So the solution here is to give them goodness when you can control it, and let them enjoy the experience when you can’t (without the nasty looks).
Look at the bigger picture. Or it might be two or three days, but when we break it down it’s only 0.09% of the meals you and your child will eat this year. Tis’ the season for sweets. We can either hold them hostage in our homes this holiday or embrace it, knowing it all comes to an end. Load up the nutrients before and after the parties for some peace of mind.
Be neutral. We have a tendency to say “Oh lucky you! You get to have a brownie!” or “Since you ate your dinner, you can have that cake”. When we lead with these statements we are unintentionally placing higher value on that food, making it seem sooooo much better than the broccoli in front of them. Have you ever said “Oh lucky you! You get to have broccoli!” or “Make sure you finish your chocolate”? Likely not! Being neutral removes the notion of the forbidden food. Hence, a child will become less excited and obsessed about that ‘treat’.
Bring out the sweets! Yup, you read that right. Before the holidays and after, periodically schedule sweets and treats into your meals or snacks (but don’t call them treats). To ease your mind, once in a while offer a nutrient-dense ‘treat’ that has more of the good stuff (like these avocado cookies). Everyone can then enjoy them with their meal or snack. What’s key here is to not restrict or try to limit their portion. Saying nothing and don’t shoot them the evil eye for eating more.
Quick Tip for Parents (to avoid overeating)
If we really want that cheesecake or chocolate, let’s have it! Then let’s slooooooowly enjoy that slice Savour every…single…itsy…bits…bite. I mean really taste it. Be mindful with every morsel.