Teaching kids to make healthy decisions when it comes to eating is difficult for many parents. Unhealthy food is convenient, accessible, and often more affordable than the healthier options. During the holiday season, making healthy choices becomes even more challenging. Tasty temptations are everywhere – from treats at school from classmates to family parties with rich, heavy foods – healthy options are often limited and harder to find.

Use these 4 tips to help your child stay healthy this holiday:

1. Start with breakfast:
Make sure your family doesn’t show up to a party on an empty stomach. On the morning of a holiday or family festivity, prepare a healthy breakfast. Include nutritious items such as fresh fruits, cereal, and eggs. A nourishing breakfast will boost your metabolism and prevent everyone from overeating later in the day.

2. Focus on friends and family:
Before your guests arrive or on your way to a relative’s house, remind your kids that you are celebrating a special day with family and friends. Do not center the attention of the day on food when attending/hosting a holiday get-together. Encourage your kids to socialize and interact with other guests and help your children spend time talking to relatives they might not see too often. Urge them to play outside with their cousins who are visiting from out of town rather than sitting around the kitchen snacking on hors d’oeuvres before the main course is served.

3. Bring a healthy dish:
Trying to follow to a healthy diet is tricky when you’re a guest at another family member’s or friend’s home. By offering to bring a healthy dish, you will ensure that your family will have a healthy option during dinner. Better yet – involve your kids when you’re making the dish! They will be proud to share their contributions, and this can become a fun activity they look forward to every year. Here are some great examples of healthy holiday dishes: Healthy Christmas Recipes for Kids

4. Play!
After you’ve finished your meal – but before you’ve slipped into a food coma- find an activity for everyone. Take a walk and check out the lights and decorations around the neighborhood. Rally the teams for a friendly football or softball game in the yard. These activities can be a fun tradition and a great way to burn off some extra calories. Encourage your kids to join in and play!

For many Americans, holidays are all about traditions. Beginning new traditions within your family which focus on healthy choices will help your kids become accustomed to making healthy decisions – not only during the holiday season, but on a regular basis. The holidays present a great opportunity for talking to your kids about nutrition and the benefits of choosing right.

 

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About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.