So, how do you let kids have fun on their holidays by making it just as sweet, but cutting back on the sugar buzz? Here’s some quick advice for parents.
1. Fill up those tummies with good stuff first
On a holiday, be it a weekend or a school break - we all know that the kids want to rush out and get into the fun while grabbing handfuls of sweets on the way out. But, make sure that they have a full meal beforehand – or at least a filling snack – to reduce the temptation to overindulge. Fill them up on their favourite meal before you send them on their way. Also, make a rule that no one eats their treats unless approved by parents.
...make sure that they have a full meal beforehand – or at least a filling snack – to reduce the temptation to overindulge.
Moderation in a time of excess may sound contradictory, but if you give your child a smaller quantity of a treat and not a large bag, they will be limited by how much they eat. Encourage them to only take one piece of candy at a time.
Also, keep track of how much candy they have eaten in a day and store it somewhere not easily accessible for them. Dole it out; let them have one or two treats a day instead of leaving the candy out in big bags or bowls for them to eat at will.
3. Healthy can also be fun
When buying treats, consider including items other than candy in the mix, making eating healthy foods fun. Try adding sealed packages of raisins and dried fruits, snack-sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, crackers and even trail mix. Also consider 100 per cent real fruit strips, squeezable yogurt tubes, or single pieces of peelable fruit, such as mandarins.
4. Make it fun even for those with food allergies
So, if your child cannot consume candy, change their treats to inexpensive little items such as erasers, crayons, pencils, colouring books, glow sticks or small glow-in-the-dark toys, bouncy balls, mini plush toys and wind-up toys, stickers or stamps, temporary tattoos, bubble makers, spider rings or vampire teeth, slime, putty or squishy toys and friendship bracelets. Just make sure they are not small enough to be choking hazards for smaller children.
5. Look before you eat
Check expiration dates on the goodies that kids eat. Start by inspecting that each piece of candy is properly sealed. Throw away any that have torn wrappers or holes in the packaging and inspect all edibles before allowing children to eat them. Don’t let them eat anything with questionable or unknown ingredients, especially if they have food allergies such as peanut, soy, milk or tree nuts allergy. Also, keep in mind that gum and hard candy can pose a choking risk for younger children, so be sure to remove these items.
Now that everyone is ready for fun, enjoy your holidays safely!
- The writer is Clinical Dietician and Diabetes Educator at HealthPlus Diabetes and Endocrinology Center