‘Tis the season for cookies, candies, chocolates and cakes! Special treats are a wonderful part of the holiday season for many families. If your family is anything like mine, holiday treats are in abundance this time of year – or overabundance! Keeping treats as treats is important for the whole family, but can be especially important for little ones who have smaller stomachs. When a child overindulges in treats there is very little room left in their stomach for healthy foods. Here are some practical ideas to enjoy treats in moderation this holiday:
- Reduce the temptation to snack by keeping treats out of sight and out of reach.
- Feed your child a healthy meal or snack before heading to holiday parties. This ensures they at least get something nutritious in their bellies!
- Keep treat portion sizes small. If there is an abundance of treats, let your child pick two or three of their favourites.
- Don’t go overboard on sugary drinks. Beverages like pop, juice and hot chocolate all contain more than 7 teaspoons of sugar per cup!
Also, not all holiday treats are unhealthy. Healthy treats are often just as popular with children! Here are a few ideas that are both delicious and nutritious:*
- Mandarin oranges
- Trail mix made with cereal, dried fruit and nuts
- Santa strawberries (see link below)
- Pomegranate seeds
- Punch made with sparkling water, sliced fruit and 100% fruit juice
- Red and green themed fruit and vegetable platters
- Apple spiced popcorn (see link below)
Santa Strawberries: http://www.leannebakes.com/2012/11/santa-strawberries.html
Apple spiced popcorn: http://www.superhealthykids.com/healthy-kids-recipes/apple-pie-popcorn-snack-mix.php
* Children under 4 years of age are at the highest risk of choking. Always supervise children when they are eating. Foods most likely to cause choking are raw vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole wieners, hard candy, cough drops and gum, raisins and other dried fruit, whole grapes, fish with bones, popcorn, and peanut butter.
~ Contributed by:
Amanda Lachowitzer, Registered Dietitian
Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday!