With Christmas and New Year behind us, it’s time we slowly get back to our routines – work, school, chores and eating habits will soon be back to normal. To transition back to whole nutrition after weeks of feasting, we suggest a gentle and gradual approach.
Below are some ideas to help ease your family out of three common holiday habits and back into nutritous – but still fun and flavourful – ways of eating.
- Holiday Habit #1 – Overeating
The beautifully decorated tables, the loaded buffets, the mountain of food on plates – after weeks of holiday feasting, kids may now see overindulging as something normal.
One fun and effective way to teach kids about balanced portions is to give them a plate and have them draw or imagine a clock on it. You can give younger children carrot and cucumbers to use as hands. When the hands are at 12 and 3, they form a wedge that takes up a quarter of the plate: That’s where meats and proteins go. The space between 3 and 6 is for grains and other starches. And the other half of the plate – from 6 to 12 – is for vegetables and fruits. This is the part of the plate where everyone can truly eat as much as they want.
- Holiday Habit #2 – Neglecting Our Veggies
It’s easy to dismiss a serving a vegetables when the holiday spotlight is on the beautifully bronzed turkey, the huge holiday ham, the velvety whipped potatoes and perfectly crusted pies. But it’s time to bring our focus back on our fruits and vegetables, and we can do so creatively.
Roast some carrots and Brussels sprouts – roasting brings out the sweetness in vegetables – and arrange them in a smiley face on the plate. Cut up different fruits and invite your kids to join you in making caterpillar kebabs. Start each dinner with an “appetiser course” of colourful, cut-up veggie sticks arranged beautifully on a platter and served with a flavourful low-fat dip or hummus.
- Holiday Habit #3 – Overating Sweets & Treats
Healthy snack choices don’t stand a chance when fudge, candy canes and sugar cookies are just around the corner. Now that the tempting treats are nearly gone, it’s time to put healthy snacks front and center.
If tossing out the leftover sweets is too heartbreaking, store them in the freezer and dole them out in moderation. Explain to your kids that when we eat healthy most of the time, we can enjoy a little treat like that every once in a while.
To satisfy a sweet tooth, offer sweeter fruits, like strawberries and blueberries. Instead of ice cream, enlist your kids in creating yogurt parfaits layered with their favorite fresh fruit. If they’ve developed a taste for sweet drinks, offer a “party punch” of sparkling water with a little fruit juice (no sugar added) blended in.
- Ensure the ‘healthy eating’ plan is adopted by the entire family – it’s not meant just for the children
- Make sure all of you remain hydrated throughout the day
- Go shopping! Toss out or freeze the treats and stock up on some wholesome food, readily available for all