It’s important to focus on a balanced approach when it comes to the holiday season. This will not only keep you saner as a parent, but will also prevent your kids from feeling deprived. If you become the Christmas Food Grinch, your kids might feel like they always miss out!
As long as your kids are still getting plenty of good nutrition, some treats are absolutely fine. Unless they are on an elimination diet or certain foods make them very unwell, you can be a little more relaxed over Christmas. We don’t need to keep the kids away from everything that’s not 100% healthy.
KEEP TREAT FOODS OUT OF THE HOUSE
If you have boxes of chocolate and bags of lollies creeping into the house, it’s easy to overindulge. That’s when kids can go overboard on on the sugar and treats. Instead, keep treats out of the house and leave them for social occasions.
FILL THEM UP FIRST
Headed out to an event? Fill your kids up with nourishing food before you leave. If you’re going to a share plate dinner, make them a green smoothie to drink first. If it’s an afternoon event, give them a good lunch first. This way, they’ll eat less junk food, and they’ve already had a good dose of nutrition first.
TAKE A HEALTHY SHARE PLATE
Many events will be based on everyone bringing a plate to share. So why not go for a healthy but delicious option?
For savory plates, put a homemade dip in the bottom of cups, then stick red and green veggie sticks into the dip. Christmas shaped veggies can also go down well.
GIVE YOUR KIDS A CHOICE
Before heading out, remind your child about the times that he’s gone overboard and made himself sick. With older kids, you can talk to them about how junk food makes them feel, and make a game plan with them.
For example, they start with a plate of good food first, and they can choose between a soft drink or a dessert. That way, they get a say in the treats they want.
SUPPORT THEIR TUMMIES
The healthier your child’s gut is, the more it can tolerate less healthy foods. Make sure you’re finding a way to support their gut health and overall nutrition every day.
You could make some gelatin gummies, which are great for soothing the gut. Try to include probiotics every day, whether it’s a supplement or a spoonful of a fermented food like kefir.
KEEP THEM HYDRATED
It’s easy to forget, but kids need to be well-hydrated, especially over the warmer months! Make sure that they are going to the toilet regularly, and remind them to drink water. You can make it more fun for them by adding frozen fruit or ice cubes made with fruit and herbs.
REMEMBER TO REST
Keeping your kids healthy over Christmas isn’t just about the food they’re eating. Many kids will have late nights thanks to different events and parties throughout December. So it’s important to give them some early nights and let them catch up on sleep.
Downtime is also an important part of rest. Once they’re on holidays, make sure you have some lazy mornings at home. If you’ve all had a big Saturday night, make Sunday morning a PJ morning. This way, you’ll get some extra rest as well!
TAKE TIME OUTSIDE
Find some way to get out into nature whenever possible. It could be a trip to the beach or a national park. Or you could simply head to the local park or read books in the sunshine.
Time outdoors is not only important for Vitamin D – it’s also one of the best ways to replenish and relieve stress for kids and adults.
MAKE TIME FOR CONNECTION
It’s important to remember that your kids value quality time with you above any present you can buy them. A child won’t come and say ‘I’ve had a hard day and need to talk about it’ – they will come and say ‘Will you play with me?’ But it’s the same thing.
It’s a great time of year to create a family tradition. We go and pick our Christmas tree from a Christmas tree farm together. You could even pick a movie to watch together on Christmas Eve. Time spent together as a family benefits everyone!