We are in the midst of the Holiday season. The weather cools down, schools shut down for winter vacations, and food is often the reason for social gatherings. As we go through the month of December, let’s keep in mind that good nutrition is still important. Here are some tips for parents to help you be certain your children are continuing to eat well this time of year:
- Keep a consistent routine. Instead of skipping breakfast and lunch in anticipation of the grand holiday dinner, have regular meals and snacks throughout the day. This helps decrease the tendency to over eat.
- Eat as a family. Research shows that having 1 meal a day as a family is associated with healthier weight. When we sit at the table and eat together, it allows us to slow down and notice when we’re full. This leads to less over eating. It’s also a great time to catch up on current events with our family. When eating as a family, use the same location each time and turn off electronics (like the TV).
- Have a treat. Holiday gatherings are full of sweets including cakes, pies, and cookies. Well round meals include all different types of foods and dessert fits into the balance. It’s important to have fruits, veggies, grains, protein, daily, and a small amount of fat. By including a treat at the end of a meal, we’re not creating something more appealing by making it off limits. Since the treat is at the end of the meal, we’re also more likely to have a small amount. Baking with our children also provides a time to have conversation and create lifelong memories.
- Get up and move. Health weight and lifestyle include eating and exercise. Go for a walk as a family; go sledding if there’s snow outside; play fetch with the family dog. If the weather is too cold to go outside, play an active game indoors, like dancing.