The holidays are meant to be a special time of year. Oftentimes, though, the added undertakings from travel to hosting, can become overwhelming. Luckily, food does not have to be one of the added stressors. Start by focusing on other aspects of the holidays apart from food. This will help reinforce balanced eating that we strive for on any typical day. Ultimately, we can avoid things like skipping meals for fear of overeating later. Set yourself up for success by remembering that enjoying and savoring special meals is a part of culture and tradition that is meant to be enjoyed. In addition, you have the right to either enjoy seconds or say, “no thank you” if you are full. After all, leftovers are the best!
No matter what their age, it’s never too late to help your kids develop healthy mealtime habits. Offering a variety of foods helps kids develop more flexible preferences. If you have a picky eater, start by incorporating new items alongside things your children are already eating. If you are concerned that your child may have an unhealthy habit, avoid talking about food as if it is “good” or “bad.” Instead, you can validate their likes and ensure them those things will be incorporated into their overall intake. Parents can help kids talk through how it feels to eat too much and help them discover how to eat to satisfaction without discomfort, as another example. There are great resources available today such as Jennifer Anderson’s “Kids Eat In Color” resources.
Cheyenne is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist located in the Charleston, SC area.