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Christmas is around the corner and with it come festive catchups, parties, snack foods and don’t forget the holiday cookies. It can be a difficult time to navigate feeding your kids. But that is why we have teamed up with Kids Nutritionist, Shelley Judge, Founder of Shelley’s Good Eats to share her top tips to navigate the sugar highs, the constant snacking this Christmas seasons.
It can be tricky when you have worked so hard to teach your kids to eat healthy food, to then feel it all unravel at family functions when they are offered endless Christmas cookies by relatives. But this is an important time to reinforce not only their relationship with food but also their bodies.
It is a time to teach them that food is more than just nutrition and can have a significant role in culture holidays and family celebrations. Here are some of the ways I recommend you navigating the festive food this holidays season.
Let them eat till satisfied:
Let them eat it, let them pick at the food on offer until they are satisfied. This will show them first off that these foods are allowed and have a place in our diets. It teaches them to trust and self-regulate themselves and learn how different foods make their bodies feel instead of relying on you, the parent, to regulate their food consumption for them.
Have healthy food available at all times
A mealtime where fruits and vegetables are served is a missed opportunity of exposure. When possible serve up these healthy options with the less healthy ones, as it will often make them feel more comfortable to explore all the food on their plate and result in them eating more fruit and vegetables in the long run!
Have ‘treats’ available regularly
This doesn’t just relate to Christmas but should be practiced year-round. The more you have these ‘unhealthier’ foods on offer the less excitement kids will have over them. So just like it is important to have healthy foods on offer it is important to take the ‘hype’ out of these foods and show your kids they are a food that can be enjoyed when on offer!
Remember the golden rule:
You may have noticed I used the words ‘on offer’ in the last three points. That is because it all comes down to the golden rule of division of responsibility.
‘It is the parent’s job to choose what is on offer and when and it is the kids’ job to choose what to eat and how much from what is on offer’.
This might mean that your child doesn’t get the snack they want at every mealtime. But it is important to use simple clear statements like ‘that is not on the menu today’ to reinforce that boundary. But it also means that they have the autonomy of what they decide to eat from what you offer which helps them build body trust.
Lastly, get your kids involved
Christmas baking is one of the highlights of this time of year and it is the perfect excuse to get children get them learning and building their confidence both in the kitchen and around food. Cooking is a skill that will complement your child’s relationship with food and their body as they grow up. Get them interested in it by making yummy festive foods that are simple and quick – like these Candy Cane Ice Blocks or Pull-apart Christmas Tree.
For more easy Christmas recipes and support to navigate your kids eating behaviours get a copy of Shelley’s Kids Christmas Cookbook! Get 20% with the code Emondo20!
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