Celebrating Healthy Holiday Snacks and Meals
For many families, Christmas and the holidays are just as much about celebrating with loved ones as they are about enjoying the nostalgic foods and drinks we only have during this season. From steaming mugs of hot chocolate to snagging a candy cane or two from a tree, many kids often wind up having more sugar than usual this time of year.
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with letting children indulge their sweet tooth during Christmas, many parents are curious how they might make the holidays a healthier time for their families.
Here’s how you can keep your kids happy, healthy, and cavity-free during the holiday season.
Healthier Holiday Side Dishes to Liven Up the Table
Christmas meals aren’t quite the same unless family-favorite side dishes are adorning the table. Many traditional recipes are generous with sugars, fats, and calories, but that doesn’t mean the same flavors can’t still be on your family’s table. You can either tinker with your own recipes to substitute healthier ingredients or try an entirely new, slimmed-down version of classic side dishes.
Here are a few tasty holiday recipes for kids to enjoy:
- Healthy Mac and Cheese: Few kids can resist the cheesy goodness of warm macaroni and cheese, and this lighter version swaps out the heavy dairy with healthier options.
- Homemade Green Bean Casserole: This crunchy and fresh take on a classic is great for kids who don’t like creamy or “gooey” casseroles.
- Mashed Potatoes with Greek Yogurt: A great, basic light mashed-potato recipe that you can tailor to your kids’ tastes.
- Maple Roasted Carrots: Roasting carrots brings out their natural sweetness so you can use less actual sugar.
- Garlicky Corn on the Cob: An easy side that many kids enjoy eating.
- Easy Roasted Chicken: Many finicky eaters will enjoy eating chicken when Christmas ham isn’t something they enjoy.
Browsing Google and Pinterest is also a great way to find kid-friendly Christmas meals.
Tasty and Nutritious Snacks for In-Between Meals
Since youngsters tend to eat smaller meals more frequently, it’s a good idea to tailor their snacking toward the healthier side. Picky eaters might also prefer eating a few bites of different foods rather than a meal of one item. By keeping Christmas snacks healthy, parents can have peace of mind knowing their kids aren’t loading up on too much sugar or empty calories.
Here are some festive and enticing healthy snack ideas for kids of all ages:
- Super Simple Grinch Fruit Kabobs: Perfect for a quick fruity snack.
- Santa or Reindeer Toast: Get creative with nut butter and sliced fruit for this breakfast treat.
- Rudolph Celery Sticks: Crunchy celery is a great teeth-friendly snack.
- Cheese and Tomato Santa Crackers: You can also swap the tomato hat for a half-slice of pepperoni or salami.
- Festive Cookie Cutter Pizza: For a very filling snack or a light lunch, these pizzas are perfect for loading up with healthy toppings.
When putting together healthy snacks, focus on using whole or minimally processed ingredients as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your kids’ overall sugar consumption. Whole fruit is a great source of vitamins and minerals but keep in mind that too much whole fruit or fruit juice can encourage cavities.
Scrub away sugar with a great dental care routine.
Making sure kids are keeping up with their oral hygiene at home is especially important during the holidays. Following a thorough at-home dental care routine will keep cavities away and help protect teeth from those more frequent festive indulgences.
Here’s a rundown on kids’ dental care during the holidays:
- Brush twice a day and floss once a day at minimum.
- Encourage an extra brushing session after a sweet snack.
- Provide a fluoride toothpaste and a kids’ anticavity mouth rinse.
- Periodically supervise their dental care routine, even for older kids.
- Discourage midnight snacking habits.
- Make sure they never skip their bedtime brushing session.
The holidays are a busy and exciting time. Between Christmas movie marathons, hectic mornings, and family or friends staying over, it’s really easy for kids (and adults!) to forget to take care of their teeth. A great way to make sure everyone is caring for their smiles properly is to make morning and bedtime dental care a family affair.
Gather in one bathroom to floss and brush your teeth together. This adds to the family togetherness of the season and makes it easy for parents to keep an eye on their kids without it seeming like strict supervision.
Book your child’s next dental checkup and cleaning.
While oral health is on your mind, now is the perfect time to take a moment and schedule your kids’ next dental checkup and cleaning. The holidays are a whirlwind and it’s easy for busy parents to forget that the end of the year also means a visit to the dentist is usually in order.
You can book your kids’ appointments right now by calling your preferred location in Waldorf or Prince Frederick. If we’re out of the office, you can still begin the process by simply filling out this online form instead.