By Fae Frazier Price
Children are often the pickiest eaters in a household, and unfortunately, often the ones eating the least healthy foods. This gets even worse during the holiday season when cookies, cakes, and candies are everywhere.
It can be difficult to set limits during these times, and you may want to give in to avoid the war that will surely follow if you say no. But how about we love our kids enough to say no to refined sugar and other holiday “treats” that wreak havoc on their little bodies and minds.
The key is not to simply take away everything tasty and give them celery instead. What you want to do is replace familiar comfort foods with delicious and deceptively healthy alternatives. And to always make it fun!
Here are some ideas that can help your kids enjoy the holidays more without the sugar crashes and meltdowns that often follow:
1. Make healthy smoothies. Learn to make a really delicious smoothie with fruit, homemade juice, and plain yogurt, without the ice cream and sugar that many traditional smoothies contain.
2. Create fun names for food. Give every new dish you create a fun name. Your child may hate anything green, but if you serve him a chocolate pudding made from avocados, dates, and raw chocolate powder and call it “monster sludge,” he just may try it!
3. Use crazy straws. Kids are much more excited to try a new drink if it is served with a crazy straw.
4. Make fun dips. Offer your children cut-up vegetables and fruits with fun dips. You can make all sorts of delicious dips out of whole foods, or stick with familiar options like ranch dressing and honey.
5. Experiment with homemade juice. Kids love homemade juice. Try juicing something they haven’t tried in a juice before, like pineapple. Let them pick out produce from the store that they think would taste good in a juice. Make it feel like it’s a science experiment and have fun together.
6. Let them help. Let your kids help prepare their food. We need to get over our dread of making messes. If kids get to see and help pick out fresh produce, use the new juicer, and try new recipes for the first time with you, they will enjoy it so much more.
7. Encourage them to create. Let kids create their own recipes, give them names, and taste them together. Take pictures of your newly created foods. This is fun, memorable, and nutritious! Just make sure to supervise them and give them age-appropriate tasks.
8. Set a good example. You can give kids healthy foods all day, but if you turn up your nose at the same things, only eat sugary treats, or gag while eating green vegetables, you are sending your children a clear message that healthy foods are disgusting.
9. Add more natural sweetener. Make your recipes a little sweeter. If you find some recipes you like, but the kids don’t really seem to like them, add in some more natural sweetener. It will taste better to them and still be so much healthier than sugar or artificial sweeteners.
10. Try to avoid using force. Try not to bully kids into eating healthy foods. They will transition more slowly than adults and are usually more resistant to change. Creating a lot of stress and drama over foods they don’t want can create lifelong food issues.
11. Offer healthier intermediate treats. These days, you can find all sorts of healthier options for traditional foods. Just by cutting out white sugar and making more things from scratch, you will be giving your kids a huge nutritional advantage right away, with minimal changes to your lifestyle.
12. Use raw sweeteners. Learn to use only healthy raw sweeteners to sweeten your child’s foods. Dates, raw honey, raisins, fresh juices, and low-glycemic powders such as lucuma powder are delicious and easy to use.
13. Keep trying. If you keep serving a small portion of new foods to your children, and keep eating them yourself, they are very likely to start eating them one day.
Source: The Epoch Times