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Wisconsin Parent

9 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Parents

Dec 15, 2013 07:43PM, Published by Diane Schwartz, Categories: Food+Dining


Create a colorful fruit tree with your kids that they can eat!



Tis the season to eat. Candy, cakes, treats and snacks are everywhere, so what's a parent to do? Here are a few simple tips to keep your kids happy and healthy this holiday season without feeling deprived.

1. Structure, structure structure. Make sure your kids are eating three healthy meals a day before they can eat sweet treats. They are less likely to over indulge if they have had a healthy meal.

2. Engage your kids in making foods: Kids are more likely to eat what they make. Have fun making fun and easy foods like popcorn balls, a colorful edible fruit tree (recipe below) and adorable strawberry Santas. The internet is full of creative ideas.

3. Eat Fresh fruit: Have lots of yummy fresh fruit available and plenty of hummus and veggies around. Get creative ideas at Cute Foods for Kids.

4. Relax: You do not have to police everything that your kids eat, especially at parties. Most kids will stop eating when they get full. If you notice that your child is gaining weight, binging or sneaking food, then consult your doctor.

5. Cut sugar and fat in recipes: Go easy on added sugar and fat to things like sweet potatoes, desserts and side dishes. You can usually cut sugar and fat in half for most recipes and it doesn’t hurt a bit. You kids will not notice the difference if you don’t tell them.

6. Use smaller serving spoons and plates: This may seem silly, but I have been to plenty of dinners where the spoon was abnormally large and resulted in larger portions. Plates matter too. Plate size in the United States used to be 10 inches. It is now 12 inches. We tend to fill our plates to capacity so think about this.

7. Go Outside: Make sure that your kids go outside everyday over winter break. Don’t worry about the cold. Just bundle them up. Face and hand protection are the keys to staying safe on cold days. Most likely, they will be sweating underneath all those layers. Afterwards, there is nothing better than coming inside on a cold day to enjoy hot soup and hot chocolate.

8. Create non food related traditions: Play games, sing songs, go sledding, volunteer, visit friends and make cards. These are just a few activities you can do with your kids over the holidays that don’t involve food.

9. Teach your kids about portions. Our supersized world has inflated portion sizes significantly in recent years. If you're not sure, check out this neat poster. As always, this is just a guide.The main thing is to enjoy the holidays. By changing up a few things, you can make them just a bit healthier for you and your family.

Edible Fruit Tree Recipe Source: Inspired from www.ginger-and-garlic.blogspot.com

Material:

  • 1 styrofoam cone (small or medium size) from Michaels or local craft store.
  • Toothpicks
  • Small Cookie cutters with various shapes (I used a star and circle, but you can use others.)
  • Assorted fruits - I used about 2 bunches of green and purple grapes, 3 quarts strawberries, 2 kiwis, 1 muskmelon and about 5 'Cutie' oranges to make the two trees shown.
  • Spinach or cilantro garnish, optional.
Steps:
  1. Get a small or media green styrofoam cone from Michaels. If you have white one, you just have to pack the fruit extra close together.
  2. Wash the fruit and cut the fruit into chunks. You can use the cookie cutters create various shapes out of the melon slices.
  3. Attach toothpicks to the styrofoam cone. Attach one piece of a fruit to a toothpick. I started from the bottom with larger fruits like strawberries and then filled in. Have fun mixing and matching different fruits. You can try to hide the toothpicks by pushing them in really far, but I found this to be difficult and unnecessary step with smaller pieces of fruit.
  4. Continue building the tree as dense as you want!
  5. Use cilantro or spinach leaves as grass garnish (optional-I found that I didn't needed it).
  6. Enjoy your new edible fruit tree as a center piece and then EAT IT!



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