Christmas can be a joyful and exciting time, but it can also be a stressful time for parents. One of the causes of high stress during the holiday season is watching your weight.
Holiday Eating Strategies
With a high percentage of both adults and children now considered overweight, Christmas parties and holiday festivities can be a real challenge. Christmas can become a cake, candy, and cookie fest causing many parents and children to put on extra pounds.
The sugary foods served at Christmas parties are filled with artificial flavors and colors that can actually cause some behavioral problems such as hyperactivity for kids who over-do it. I remember when my son, Thomas, was one year old, and ate too many candies at a party. He cried and literally screamed for two hours after the party because his little body wasn't used to all that junk! It was distressing, but I learned my lesson. Now I have a strict limit about what my kids can and can't eat at parties.
What can we as parents do to make sure that we, and our kids, have a happy and healthy holiday time?
1) When you're baking cookies and other sweets this Christmas, use about half of the recommended sugar. Most recipes call for more than enough sugar to satisfy any sweet tooth. You can even make sugar free cookies replacing sugar with applesauce or a sugar substitute.
2) Try to use natural foods to give color to your dishes instead of artificial colors and flavors. Cherries and other fruits and nuts can be used to decorate sweets instead of red hots and other candies.
3) Resist the temptation to eat only sweets and potato chips at parties. Encourage your children to eat fresh fruits and vegetables. You can usually seek out party trays with fresh fruits and vegetables and creamy, light dips.
4) Stay away from overly rich and saucy foods. Those foods that leave a "lump" in your stomach usually aren't good for you. If your body is trying to tell you something, then listen to it!
5) Don't be fanatical. Remember that you are eating "bonus food" when you go to parties. Eat in moderation and enjoy the delicious foods that make Christmas such a warm and wonderful time of the year.
Remember to relax, spend time with loved ones, have a healthy holiday, and enjoy this special season!
Clarissa Camus is the founder of Easy Kids Recipes (www.easy-kids-recipes.com). Her website includes articles, cooking tips, a free newsletter, and lots of kid-friendly recipes.
Do you have some good advice about staying healthy during the holiday season? Or a healthy holiday recipe that's your favorite? Please share your tips and recipes!