With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer

It’s the most wonderful stressful time of the year.


Isn’t that such a bummer?  I used to love everything about Christmas.  Yet, since becoming a parent they seem to have become more of a headache. Our to-do lists get longer, our wallets get leaner, our kids get over-tired and poorly-fed.  Naturally, parents are stressed out about all the holiday treats with kids.


You’re probably worried about heading to that party this week…wondering what to do when your little one goes to town on the cookies.  But since becoming a mom of three little ones, I realize I can’t waste my energy on this stuff.  Speaking of 3 little ones…


[Let me interrupt this blog post with an important message!]


Meet our brand spanking new Mackenzie, who is the ripe age of 6 weeks today!  You’ll see more of her and our shenanigans in the coming months.  She’s a gem if I might say so myself.  Her older sisters on the other hand, they are the hard work!  Good thing they are cute.



[Back to our regular programming]


The holidays are one of those times I know I just need to chill out.  Especially when it comes to how to handle holiday treats with kids.


When I’m fixated on keeping my girls away from the goodies and filling them up on greens, it gets ugly.


I put pressure on them –> they resist eating –> I want to withhold ‘treats’ –> they want to indulge even more –> I get frustrated…and you know how the story ends.


Tears and tantrums.


That’s no fun!  There’s a better way to handle the holidays.  Especially around the food and feeding our kids, picky or not.


Let’s nip this in the bud with a few strategies I use with my little ones to neutralize their love of ‘junk food’ (although I dislike using that term in front of kids).  By default these strategies for handling holiday treats with kids also keep parents’ stress under control.


Holiday Treats with Kids

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)


As much as we obsess about our little one’s intake during the holidays, we are equally obsessed about our own.  We have a few family and friend events coming up and it’s guaranteed they will have a few of my favourites.  Saying no to cheesecake and shortbread cookies is so hard for me!


What I don’t want is the guilt that comes with that cake or a few cookies.  Instead of simply enjoying a slice and being done with it, theguilt smacks me in the face an then I self-sabotage thinking “Well I blew it and ate that cake. I might as well have another, bigger slice….with extra whipped cream”.   Then I eat it really fast because then maybe it won’t count? Ha!  That’s when I really feel crappy.  But that’s the old me…I’ve found a much better balance over the years.


Now I want you to have your cake and eat it too.


In the Energy Reboot, I share powerful strategies for taming sugar cravings.  However, right now let’s keep it simple and just have a treat without kicking ourselves.


The research shows that when we pay attention to what we eat, we are more satiated. Then we are less likely to reach for more.


So let’s make a pact ok?

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.  


On that note, I have some healthy holiday treats to bake over here.  And yes, we are all going to sloooowly enjoy without guilt or punishment.  Including the little ones.