‘Tis the season for trick-or-treaters, candied yams, pies and other sweet holiday treats. Food is an integral part of the way we celebrate the holidays, but it can also cause anxiety for parents concerned about their children’s nutrition.
With events like Halloween, school parties and other festive family get togethers, parents can’t always control everything their child eats this time of year. So what can you do to prevent your kids from overdoing it on the candy and baked goods this season?
The answer isn’t keeping your kids away from the fun and treats, it’s teaching them better nutrition, how to make healthy food choices and how to enjoy holiday treats in moderation.
Talk about food
First, it’s important for children to know what their food is and how it can affect their bodies. In a world full of ultra-processed foods, teaching your children proper nutrition is the best way to keep them healthy during the holidays and throughout their lives.
Take time to talk to your kids about food to help them understand that what they consume has short and long term effects on their bodies.
Avoid forbidding food
While educating children on proper nutrition is important, so is food choice. Forbidding certain foods or taking food—like Halloween candy—away from kids can actually have the opposite effect on how they view it. It might make them crave those “bad” foods even more and not eat it in moderation when it is in front of them.
By allowing your kids to partake in all types of food, you can help manage their behavior around those foods. If candy isn’t off limits to them, but just monitored, your child won’t feel like they have to scarf down five pieces of chocolate and three bags of gummy candy before you take their bucket away. Instead, if they know they can come back to it or have it after dinner each night after Halloween, one (or two) pieces at a time will be enough to satisfy their sweet tooth.
This applies to other food as well. Introducing different types of food to your children will broaden their palates and will help them make better nutritional choices well into adulthood.
Prioritize nutrition year-round
Nutrition and food choice shouldn’t only be considered during the holiday season. If you spend time helping your kids understand that food is fuel for their bodies and how important a balanced diet is, while also working to broaden their palates throughout the year, instead of reaching for that third piece of candy, they might opt for the apple instead.
If you’re looking for additional information or tools for talking to your kids about proper nutrition, contact us today.