Sugar overload at Christmas? 8 suggestions to keep your kids healthy.
The festive season has officially begun, with all the magic it brings. Snow, fairy lights, presents and, of course, sugary foods!
December is definitely one of the sweetest times of the year: panettone, pandoro, hot chocolate, almonds ... we are bombarded by deliciously addictive sugary foods and there are so many occasions to indulge.
Eating too much sugar can permanently damage your metabolism, and if it is not regulated properly, may be a risk for the health of your children, affecting above all their growth. Obesity, memory impairment, diabetes and dental caries are just some of the many problems caused by eating too much sugar. The role of parents in the festive season is therefore essential.
If the risk is to splurge and overindulge without knowing how to stem the problem, we have suggestions and tips that may help you deal with this problem during the festive season!
8 ways to have a healthy Christmas
Are you ready? You will need a pen and paper or, if you prefer, a finger and smartphone, to write down this list of 8 ways on how to keep healthy during the festive season without overindulging in sugary foods.
- Keep to your routine
Christmas is the time of year when everything slows down. Certainly, you do need to unwind a bit at this time of the year. All we do is rush from one thing to another most of the year, so now the important thing is not to overindulge now that you have some free time for yourself. Try to keep to your usual routine: for example, don’t get your kids up much later than usual, let them do sports as they always do, don’t them have extra TV time ... Try to stimulate them by suggesting games or taking them on an outing!
- Dose out the sugars during the day
Ideally you should limit the sugary foods you eat as much as possible. This applies not only to small children but to the older ones as well! Try eating sugary foods at breakfast, so you have the rest of the day to burn off those calories.
If your child asks you for a sugary snack, try tempting him with dried fruit or sugary fruit like a pear or banana.
- Keep the portions right It’s the parents who decide!
Parents are there to ensure that their children get everything they need, without spoiling them. Try to get your children to eat a little of everything so that they get used to different flavours, but remember to keep the portions right! You should serve just the right portion so that your child learns how much to eat. Don’t set too many rules though, remember they are still children.
Avoid distractions when your children are eating, above all when they are eating high calorie sugary foods, so that they realise what and how much they are eating!
- Simple or complex sugars?
There are two types of sugars: simple and complex sugars. Contrary to simple sugars, complex sugars release energy gradually, which is why they should be preferred. So give your children food containing whole wheat flour, rice and potatoes instead of refined sugar or 00 flour.
So remember to read the labels of the products you buy.
- Say yes to hot chocolate, but dark chocolate is better!
Chocolate is an excellent way to charge up with energy, or warm up, especially after a walk about town. Chocolate has many benefits, it is an antioxidant and contains vitamin C to strengthen the immune system; it improves blood circulation, helping to keep your heart healthy.
In any case remember to buy dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. In addition to knowing exactly what goes into the hot chocolate you make at home, it is also a nice way to spend a special moment with your children!
As an alternative to chocolate, there are many other drinks you can try, and if you did not know it already, there is even tea with cocoa, that tastes very much like hot chocolate only with fewer calories.
- Fizzy drinks? Best to avoid them!
During the festive season there is never a shortage of drinks such as bottled or canned fruit juices or fizzy drinks. Kids just love them, and you as a parent should make sure that they do not drink too many. These drinks are delicious but contain lots of sugars that are certainly not good for your kids. It isn’t necessary to avoiding fizzy drinks and bottled fruit juices all together, all that parents need to do is limit how much their kids drink.
- Do you do your own cooking? Get rid of leftovers!
And if are having lunch or dinner at home, get rid of the leftovers! If you cannot freeze them, give them to your friends and relatives to take home. It’s not only a gesture they will appreciate, but you will also be getting sugary foods out of your home and avoiding extra temptation for your children while they are at home!
- No splurging, No party!
You can of course splurge now and then, but only during the holidays! Parents and children should keep to a healthy diet on all the other non-festive days. Such soup, vegetables and salads. And if your children don’t like them, try to get them to eat wholesome foods by serving imaginative and colourful meals!