‘Tis the season of sugarcoated traditions — from Halloween’s
Trick-or-Treat bags overflowing with candy to the lavish meals filled
with pies, cookies and decadent snacks whipped up for Thanksgiving and
Christmas gatherings with family and friends, and of course you can’t
forget Valentines Day’s sweet exchanges and the Easter Bunny’s
baskets of goodies. Sweets are in abundance! It’s especially tough
to exercise self-control during the holidays.
“Allowing your kids to enjoy a few treats is fine,” said Renee
Greene RD, LDN, Wellness Dietitian at CVMC’s
Health First Center. “But it’s important that you don’t let the holidays
become a sugar free-for-all. An over consumption of sugar can have a serious
impact on your child’s health.”
Over consumption of sugar has been linked to:
- Pediatric obesity
- Tooth decay
- Heart disease
- The onset of Type 2 diabetes
Renee offers these strategies to decrease your child’s sugar intake
without without sacrificing any of the fun holiday seasons bring:
Keep sweets out of the house. After Halloween, allow your kids to choose a handful of their favorites
to keep. When baking, share with friends or family members.
Watch out for liquid sweets! Eggnog, cider, and hot chocolate are high in sugar. Offer water, unsweet
teas, or milk.
Stock the fridge with healthy snacks. Fresh veggies with hummus, apples with peanut butter, trail mix, yogurt
with berries or popcorn are great snack options.
Don’t go to parties hungry. Hunger leads to unhealthy choices. Offer your kids a healthy snack an
hour or two before the party. Pick foods with protein and fiber at the
party, so sweets are less tempting.
Plan to be active. Get exercise by playing flag football, tag or whiffle ball with family
Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to less self-control when making food choices.
Savor selections! Be selective with your sweets. Choose only your favorites and choose small portions.
Host the party. If you are the host, you can control the menu. Provide fresh fruits, vegetables,
lean proteins, whole grains and low fat dairy foods.
Don’t reward with food. Instead of a sweet as a reward, choose a special activity. Go to the park,
catch fall leaves, serve a neighbor in need or color a picture together.
Overindulge? Don’t throw in the towel; start fresh again. Make better choices
for the next meal or day. Start again with healthy foods and exercise.
If you have additional questions concerning how your child’s diet
may be affecting their health, contact your primary care provider or visit
Catawba Valley Medical Group online to find a primary care provider near you.