School’s out and the kitchen is open, 24/7, during the holidays. Not only that, there are often a lot of tempting holiday sweets and treats lying around. "What are some healthy and kid-appealing snacks moms can fill their refrigerators with during the winter break?" asks Circle of Moms member Karla D. “My kids love to snack, but I want them to learn how to snack healthily during the holidays. I especially don’t want them to have so much sugar."
Here, Circle of Moms members offer four tips for keeping the snacking healthy during your kids' holiday breaks.
1. Remove the Junk Food
The first step to getting kids to eat right – especially when they are out of their regular school routine and just hanging around the house, is to eliminate temptation. “I would remove the junk food you have from your house,” says Circle of Moms member Amanda P. “Chips, candy, cookies, frozen pizzas, corn dogs, etc."
2. Include Your Kids in Making a Snack Plan
Amanda also suggests pairing this move, which is sure to be unpopular, with a family meeting: "Explain that you want everyone to eat better and feel better and you would like to do it together. Ask what some of their favorite foods are and then make healthier versions at home."
Circle of Moms member Debbie offers that the best way to get your kids on board with healthier snacking is to involve them in the shopping. (It also makes it more fun, she shares.)
3. Stock up on Healthy Snacks
If you want your kids to reach for the carrots and broccoli instead of the leftover plates of Christmas cookies, make sure healthy foods are readily available to them. Allysia S. says there are "endless possibilities," including whole wheat crackers with cheese ("kids need dairy"), pretzels, popcorn made in an air popper, cucumbers and carrots dipped in Ranch dressing, apples with peanut butter, baked chips, vanilla wafers, graham crackers with frozen fat-free whipped cream.
Geri P. adds that it's important to make eating healthy easy for your kids. Left to their own devices, they'll go for easy, unhealthy options like a bag of chips. She suggests making them fruit smoothies and freezing yogurts for them, which her kids love.
Rachel V. also has a few great ideas, including freezing grapes and making banana muffins. She also suggests wrapping sliced turkey meat around string cheese ("get it with 2% milk or low fat of any kind, it's fun to eat and takes longer because they like to ‘play with the food.'”), and slicing the wraps into little circles that you set out with mustard.
4. Make Exceptions
To take the edge off new restrictions, be sure to allow occasional indulgences. Some moms even suggest scheduling one night as "junk food night." Circle of Moms member Allison L., who normally keeps lots of fruits, veggies, nuts, and yogurt on hand for her kids, admits that she herself "really enjoys the bad stuff on occasion," and advises giving your kids a chance to cut loose and eat "as much of whatever they want between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m." one day a week.
What healthy snacks do you serve up for your kids during school breaks?
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