Christmas is the only day of the year you’re allowed chocolate for breakfast - why else would we stuff the toes of our children’s stockings with chocolate coins? Many parents will testify that excessive sweets and chocolate can have a detrimental effect on their children’s health and behaviour. You don’t want to limit the fun of indulging over Christmas however few days of splurging should not turn into a fortnight’s binge. We’re not talking about diets for kids, but we are starting a new year of healthy eating, so here are our top tips on how you can get the entire family back into a healthy way of eating after Christmas.
Supermarkets are savvy and drop the prices of tubs of chocs in October and November so that we start stocking up early and then we still buy more in the sales ..... because it is just too good to leave at that price. Don't! Limit the amount of junk coming into your house and you’ll have an easier time getting rid of it afterwards. My kids always get spoiled by school, Santa, and relatives. They bring half a year’s worth of junk food into the house in the space of week, so I don’t need to buy them any more.
Don’t make the mistake of letting kids keep their goodies in their bedrooms where you can’t see what they’re eating. It can lead to them guzzling in between meals, having massive sugar crashes, and picking at their plate because they weren’t hungry. Try storing their chocolate in the kitchen, somewhere it is out of sight but where you can see (or hear) when they are helping themselves and can stop them if it’s inappropriate.
Two Days, not Two Weeks
Research carried out into children’s eating habits found that they eat nearly four times their recommended daily calorie intake on Christmas Day, which is quite a shocking fact when you consider it. Give your kids one or two days where they can scoff sweets but then bring things back to normal. Dilute the influence of the sugar they are ingesting by making meals vegetable rich, and giving them water or milk to drink instead of sugary, fizzy pop.
All those extra calories children ingested over Christmas need to go somewhere. Channel the energy in a positive way through family walks or other physical activities. You don’t have to go outside - playing Twister, dancing around the sitting room, or even pillow fights will have the same effect.
Moderation is Key
Ditch the feast-or-famine mentality about Christmas eating. Lead by example - if they see you gorging non stop for a week before going on a strict diet you end in disappointment after ten days, your children will assume that an all-or-nothing approach is normal.
No one is telling you to be a food-Scrooge, but you’re not doing your child any favours by encouraging - or even allowing - them to eat their body weight in Quality Streets. Reign back on the amount you bring into the house, keep an eye on what they’re eating, and gradually bring their diet back to normal once Christmas (not the Christmas holidays) is over.
Mu husband is always telling me that eating shouldn't be about diets and cheat days, it should be a healthy way of eating EVERY day, so how do you manage to get your children eating healthily? We would love to hear your tips for keeping your family healthy.