As a Mum with a 3 year old and a 9 month old at home, I know helping your kids eat healthy over the holidays can feel a bit overwhelming. While I never strive for perfection (we all need balance!), I wanted to share a few ways to encourage healthy habits in your little ones. You’ve got this!
- Start the day with a healthy and balanced breakfast. Showing up to a holiday event with an empty belly is never the best idea. Try to keep your normal routine in the morning and fuel up with a balanced breakfast.
- Eat your meals together as a family. Try to avoid distractions and be present. Family meals give you the opportunity to role model enjoying a variety of foods and connecting with loved ones. Focus on connection, not consumption (my motto always).
- Involve children in shopping and cooking. Cooking with your kids isn’t necessarily the most time efficient way to cook, but you get to make memories. The more involved they are in the process, the more they will be working on their healthy relationship with food. Make it fun! Bake their favourites and let them mix in all the ingredients, or let them put away the groceries if they’re keen to help.
- Treat all foods the same! Offer the “holiday” foods together with the other foods and don’t pay them extra attention or build up excitement by saying things like, “You’re SO lucky to have cake!” If you don’t play up the special foods, your kids most likely won’t either. They can have a bit of everything!
- You can control what’s on offer and when, but let them decide how much they want to eat when it is on offer without pressure. This is just a short time period, don’t stress about how much they are actually eating.
- Focus on other traditions of the holidays outside of just eating food. Have your kids help you decorate the house, make name tags for your family, play holiday games, etc. There is more to the holidays than food and you can celebrate together in many ways!
- Don’t let the opinions of others influence how you feed your kids. You know best. If you let your bub get messy during mealtime usually, then let them at the holidays. If you want to feed a certain food to your bub, do it! Try not to let any other opinions influence you. This can be tough in a big family gathering environment (I get it), but sharing the reminder that you know your kids best.
- Keep mealtimes stress-free, avoid food battles and embrace the mess! (Make sure you have your Catchy ready!) Protect their holiday outfit with a Catchy smock bib that has heaps of coverage. You’ve been practising this point all year, right? The holidays are no different. Embrace that mess and enjoy the meal times with your friends and family.
Bonus tip: **If they’re not yet aware of certain high sugar and salt foods, don’t introduce them yet! You can use your discretion.
We only get so many holidays with our family. Having both kids at home, holiday hosting and travel can be a lot, but you are also making memories you will cherish forever. Soak it up. Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season.