Guest blogger Cristin Dillon-Jones: Kids should enjoy the special treats that come with the holidays but for good reason (their health & your sanity) treats should be incorporated into a balanced diet. Here are a few tips to help prevent your kids from riding the sugar rollercoaster this holiday season.
• Explain what treats are: Children may not understand the difference between healthy food and treats. Explain to them that healthy foods like grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat help them grow big and strong whereas treats do not.
• Offer treats with milk, yogurt or fruit: Adding a protein or fiber rich food to treat time will help the child to fill up -- and it will also slow the digestion of the treat. The sugar in the treat will not be released as quickly, so you will avoid a sugar high then sugar low child (this is the sugar rollercoaster).
• Practice portion control: Children have smaller stomachs than adults do and they fill up quickly. Keep treat portions small so that children do not satiate themselves and refuse other healthy foods. Offer treats only after a reasonable amount of the preceding meal has been consumed.
• Don't serve treats at all hours: There is no place for treats at breakfast because it gets a kid's day started on the wrong foot (the sugar high). Offer treats later in the day so that the child has had a couple of meals in them and has met most of their nutrient requirements for that day.
• Bake treats together: Baking can be a great learning experience for children so try to include them when possible. Take them to the store to buy the ingredients then allow them to measure, stir and pour in the kitchen. Encourage the child to share the finished treat with others, it'll boost their confidence and leave less around to be consumed by them and you!