Give the gift of enjoying food this season

Give the gift of enjoying food this season

The festive season is filled with family, fun and food – yay, you say! But, as a parent, you’re not alone if all the party food on offer this time of year makes you feel just a little uneasy. Here are three tips to help your family have a positive relationship with food and eating over this holiday season.

Be flexible

The important thing is to take a relaxed flexible approach and try not to get too worried about it. Most children will manage how much and what they eat themselves. Making a big deal about or saying no to certain foods can actually make them more appealing.

How and what you do most of the time with food and eating is more important than a few days or weeks a year.

And, in all the excitement, young children often forget to eat food at parties.

If this happens, have some food handy to give your child shortly after the party to reduce the risk of a post-party meltdown.

Bring a simple plate

If you are bringing a dish to share, think seasonal, fresh and local where you can. This time of year there’s lots of fresh produce like berry and stone fruits, cherries and fresh green vegetables.

Keep food simple so it’s familiar to children and they can eat it easily. You may find a simple fresh fruit platter goes down better than a flash fruit salad or pudding.

Fresh or roasted vegetables cut up and served with a dipping sauce can be more popular with young children than a fancy salad.

A cheese plate with bread and crackers is often a simple winner.

Make sure water is available for everyone.

Keep it positive

Eating should be enjoyable and help bring friends and family together. Positive eating experiences create memories for children that last.

This is a chance to help your child learn how to include party foods alongside regular meals and snacks, without guilt or shame.

A great way to help is to lead by example. Enjoy your festive fare without joining in the ‘diet talk’ – talking negatively about food or bodies (yours or others).

This is a really valuable gift you can give your children that will keep on giving.

Visit Healthy Kids for more information on food for kids.

Contact: Public Health Services