As a parent trying to raise healthy kids, you might be a bit worried about all the snacks and sweets that will be available for your kids to consume at your family holiday party. It is completely okay to indulge every once in a while, but if you want to make sure you’ve got a handle on how your kids eat during the holidays, this post is for you.
With our family, we love throwing a big fat Italian party on Christmas Eve. There are tons of delicious foods to chow down and enough leftovers to last at least a few days! It can be an opportunity for all the healthy habits you’ve been working on to completely disappear.
With a picky eater, the holidays can be especially difficult, particularly if they have sensitivity issues. If you worry about what your child is going to eat or not eat, then try these 5 strategies I like to use to make sure my kids are eating well.
5 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy During the Holidays
As a mom of three, I’ve sort of figured out how to navigate the holiday party madness, so I’m not working myself up about what the kids eat (or don’t eat). Let me know how these simple yet effective strategies work!
These 5 holiday party hacks will help you:
- Help you feel good about what your child eats
- Help you get some good nutrition into your family at/before the party
- Help you and your child savour vs. devour the holiday treats
- Help your child stay put at the table
- Help your child avoid getting “hangry”
1. Feed them nutrient-dense meals before the family holiday party
It’s no secret that holiday parties aren’t always filled with the most nutritious meals (and that’s fine, it’s one day in the year!), but it’s always a good idea to make sure your kids have at least one healthy meal during the day.
I aim to load them up with a bit of protein, fruits, and vegetables! You’ll feel better about their nutrition.
As an added bonus, it satiates them which helps prevent snacking on all those chips and candy canes.
2. Bring a healthy appetizer to the party
Even with so many options at your family’s holiday party, your kids may not want anything! I always offer to bring a healthy appetizer that my children love like a charcuterie board or a veggie platter, so they’ll be able to eat something no matter what else is served.
Being at someone else’s house can bring its own kind of anxiety. Bringing familiar food helps ease the nerves around trying new dishes and flavours.
3. Play “Eat Like a Turtle”
Help your kids slow down with this activity! You can use it at home and at any holiday party or family gathering. I recommend using it for the less nutritious foods your children love to eat like sweet treats. We tell them to take small bites and nibbles, close their eyes, and savour how the food feels in their mouth.
Kids learn by watching, so we’ll do it with them too! Doing this exercise helps your kids feel more full and satisfied, so they will eat less sugar.
4. Tell your kids to crunch colours
Did you know colourful foods contain more vitamins and antioxidants? Eating an assortment of different colour foods adds more variety to your child’s plate. Encourage them to eat the rainbow and crunch colours. We tell our kids they can pick whatever they want from the buffet as long as they are picking different colours.
Even if they don’t eat everything, they are getting more exposure to different foods!
5. Get your kids involved with food exploration
We bring the Curious Cookie Mat to the holiday parties to get our kids to try food they wouldn’t try otherwise. It turns food exploration into a game that uses their sensory system to explore foods. We’ll usually print the digital version of this placemat to bring along for the other kids too! So the adults can enjoy their meal, while the kids explore theirs 😉
Be prepared for amazing things to happen at your next holiday party!
While you enjoy this video, I’ll likely be cozying up with my girls and enjoying all the delicious foods at this year’s holiday party (provided the snowstorm isn’t too bad).
Wishing you and your family the happiest and healthiest of holidays!