6 healthy tips for kids this silly season

17/12/2014 Healthy Eating, Help for Parents

The silly season is here! It’s a time for families to enjoy all those wonderful christmas traditions and delicious holiday meals. This can mean plenty of parties and gatherings with less than nutritious food. Exposing your children to these foods from time to time is fine, but ensuring you provide balance where you can is essential. Don’t throw all of your healthy habits out the window! Here are our six simple tips to help children maintain a healthy lifestyle, while still enjoying all the festivities of the holiday season.

1. Be active

Organised sport and other activities have usually finished up for the year so that can lead to more time in front of the TV and being less active. But it’s more important than ever that children are given the opportunity to burn the energy they’ve consumed during their Christmas celebrations. Go for a walk to the playground after lunch as a family – take a kite or a frisbee and play together.

2. Provide healthy options when you can

Most days you’ll probably have breakfast at home – make it a healthy one, especially if you know there’s a party later in the day. Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast with a fruit salad is a great way to start the day. Offer you child healthy snacks throughout the day, rather than choosing processed foods. Need some inspiration? Try pieces of fruit, vegetable sticks, crisp bread topped with tomato and avocado or wholemeal english muffin pizzas. If you’re traveling between Christmas events, toss some apples in your bag so kids have a healthy snack to fill them. By getting children to feat a healthier item they are less likely to overindulge on unhealthy options when they arrive at the party.

3. Practice Mindful Eating

Celebratory events like Christmas Day can be a time when children eat far too much  and end up feeling sick and uncomfortable later.  Eating mindfully and dishing out appropriate portion sizes as well as savouring any occasional foods are the key to avoiding feeling over full. Allow your child to serve themselves while providing guidance so that they have enough veggies in their plate. Let them decide how much food they want.

Encourage your child to sit down and enjoy their meal instead of watching TV or running around. This is even more important with those “occasional” or “sometimes” foods. Make sure your child is concentrating while they eat dessert so that they’re less likely to ask for seconds.

4. Make it a good time for fussy eaters

A beautiful christmas spread can be a great opportunity for fussy eaters to try foods outside of their comfort zone. Seeing their cousins, friends and relatives eating a variety of foods may be the push they need to try something new.

5. Bring healthy options

If you’re requested to bring a plate to a christmas party, bring a healthy option. There is likely to be a lot of chips, crisps and other less nutritious options, so mix things up and bring something healthy. Colourful fruit skewers, veggie sticks with dip and jelly cups are just some of our ideas.

6. Try some of our healthy recipes

Not all Christmas treats need to be laden with energy, saturated fat and sugar. We have created some healthy recipes that your children are sure to love!

Check out our Canteen Recipes Search Tool and select “Christmas” in the “Browse” tab.