How to encourage your kids to eat healthy food on holiday
Ah, the holidays – a time of relaxation, warm sunshine, and plenty of indulgent treats. But as a parent, it can be tricky to navigate the lines between wanting your kids to enjoy themselves whilst you’re away and keeping their healthy eating habits intact. Especially if you’re going to be visiting theme parks or other amusements, it’s easy for your kids to get distracted by fast food carts and novelty ice creams.
The good news is that with some intentional planning, you can encourage your kids to make healthy food choices while still enjoying the delights of holiday eating. In this article, we’ll be sharing some practical tips and tricks to help you do just that.
Get them involved in meal planning
One of the best ways to get your kids excited about healthy eating is to get them involved in the process. If you’re staying in self-catered accommodation, this doesn’t have to stop when you’re on holiday.
Especially if you’ve travelled abroad, going to the market can be a great adventure. Take them grocery shopping with you and let them choose some fruits and vegetables they’d like to try. Why not have a conversation with them about why it’s important to eat a variety of colourful foods and the various local options that they can’t get at home?
Lead by example
As parents, our actions often speak louder than words. If you want your kids to eat healthy food on holiday, then it’s important to model that behaviour for them yourself. When you’re out at a restaurant, choose healthy options – you could even dine ‘family style’ and share lots of smaller dishes with your children. This can be helpful if they may be reluctant about trying new things, as it will make dinner time feel more fun. Plus, it stops lots of food going to waste if they decide they don’t like their choices.
The language you use matters too – rather than saying that you’re ‘watching what you eat’ or ‘I’m being good’ which might give the connotation that you’re being restrictive, focus on how delicious healthy food can be. Whilst you might not think it matters with young children, creating a positive atmosphere around food may help little ones feel more relaxed.
Create healthy snack packs
If you’re heading out for a day of sightseeing, chances are you’ll need to pack some snacks for your kids to keep them nourished and full of energy. Instead of just grabbing the old standby of crisps or biscuits, why not make healthy snack packs instead?
Pack small reusable containers in your suitcase. You can then use these to create portions of cut-up fruit, chopped veggies, nuts, and seeds. Adding a dip like hummus or a fruit yoghurt can make the eating experience even more enjoyable. Then, when you’re out and about, you can buy ice creams or other treats as a bonus snack, so that your kids still get that holiday experience.
Limit sugary drinks
When it comes to holiday beverages, it can be easy to indulge in fizzy drinks, especially if you eat out at restaurants a lot of the time. But these can quickly load up your kids with too much sugar and empty calories, and leave them tired and crabby when the sugar high wears off.
Instead, aim to limit your kids’ intake of sugary drinks and encourage them to choose water or a natural juice instead. Whilst it’s true that fruit juices contain as much sugar as fizzy drinks, they are far more nutritious, making them acceptable in small quantities. If you’re a family who is motivated by competition, you could even make it a fun challenge to see who can drink the most water in a day.
Don’t be afraid to indulge a little
Finally, it’s important to remember that a healthy approach to eating on holiday doesn’t mean completely cutting out all the fun. Treats like ice cream or a delicious slice of pizza aren’t off-limits, but it’s all about moderation and good portion control. Encourage your kids to savour these treats as a special part of their holiday experience and balance it out with lots of healthy wholesome meals throughout the day.
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