Holiday Eating For Kids

The holidays are here…. Again!

It’s that time of the year again. Deadlines stress you to the point of wanting to hurt someone (usually a spouse or a boss). Year end functions take their toll on your waistlines.
Kids are writing exams, more reason to stress, more reason to eat. Routines go out the
window. Gym time and exercise is sacrificed. You come home exhausted, inhale everything in sight. Sigh, what happened to those year end resolutions that you made just the other day (which was 12months ago already). You suddenly find yourself a year older, a dress size (or 2) larger and you have acne like a stressed out teenager.
You are so grateful that the holidays are going to be here soon …. Or are you….
For me, the holidays bring back memories of long road trips (3 hours for a 10 year old is an eternity), late mornings (although its much easier to get up on holidays than it was on school days) and my mum yelling, ‘I wish school was every day and there were no holidays! ‘

I vowed never to tell my own kids that, but I have to admit I think it, often.
To kids holidays mean playing more, sleeping more and of course eating more. What can we do as parents to make sure our kids don’t end up gaining weight over the holidays?

It’s actually quite simple, but it requires some planning and some effort.
Make sure that your child is well hydrated. Dehydration is the number one cause of lack of concentration. Oftentimes people mistake thirst for hunger. So, make fluids readily available. Water is the best thing for kids to drink. Avoid fizzy drinks and fruit juices. Both these are high in sugar. Fruit juice, even pure fruit juice is very high in calories. 250ml of fruit juice per day counts as the fruit portion that a child requires for an entire day.
Encourage kids to eat fruit rather than drink it. If you would like to give the kids flavoured water, try low calorie cordials. At Dr Kat’s, we make a Thirst Buster which is very low in calories and has added inulin in it. Inulin is immune boosting, cancer fighting, energy giving and great tasting. This is a great alternative to sugary drinks.

Have vegetable crudités available. Carrot sticks, cucumber sticks, sugar snap peas and even baby corn are very popular with the kids. When kids are bored, they tend to attack the refrigerator. If you have the veggies ready cut, where they can see it, you will be surprised at how much they will enjoy crunchy fresh veggies.
Individual servings of yoghurt are so convenient and very tasty. A nice trick is to get kids to choose the yoghurt themselves. That way they will feel part of the decision making process. Ice lollies are also great for summer. Water based ice creams are light and low in calories. They are a much better option than a chocolate covered, milk based ones. Popcorn is also a filling, low calorie snack and is quick to prepare. Investing in an air popper is certainly worthwhile. Another worthwhile investment is a convection oven. You can grill chicken, steak, fish, kebabs without having to constantly check the oven because of the handy switch-off function.

Finally, keeping the kids occupied helps them to eat less because boredom is the number one cause for mindless eating. Get them involved in preparing their own snacks or meals. Encourage outdoor play and keep TV games and computer games to a minimal. Two hours per day at the most.

Have a restful holiday. Those who fail to plan, plan to fail – just like those who overindulge are very likely to bulge.