As a dietitian and mom of 3 (and baking lover), I’ve gathered my most loved, kid-friendly holiday treats and snacks for you to try! Grab your kiddos, turn on some Christmas carols and dig in!
One of the best parts of the holidays – we can probably all agree – is the food! Food not only provides nutrients, but it also creates memories, connection and good feelings. Just think about when you bite into your favourite holiday treat (for me, it’s these Chewy Triple Ginger Cookies that give me the warm fuzzies!). Something that is really important for me as a dietitian and mom of three kids is to teach my kids that all foods have value, and that it’s not always about nutrition. During the holidays, food brings family and friends together for celebration, and helps to create fond memories and traditions that are passed through generations.
Where we as children from the 80’s and 90’s miss the mark sometimes, is that we tend to label foods as “good” or “bad”, “healthy or “unhealthy” with our kids. This stems from diet culture – something that has been deeply ingrained in our scripts about food from a young age. This narrative is then passed down through generations, keeping diet culture alive and well. What if we stopped labeling foods or organizing them in a hierarchal system based on nutritional value, and instead just created neutrality around them. Food is just food. Some foods are nutrient-dense and help our body systems function well, and some foods create memories, help us celebrate, taste delicious and make us feel good emotionally. All valuable.
Enjoying Holiday Treats Creates a Healthier Food Relationship
Obviously I’m not advocating that we replace nutrient-dense foods with treats or let our kids whatever they want (I AM a dietitian after all), but what I’m suggesting is consider shifting your mindset about these holiday treats. When we restrict, highly limit or forbid these foods, our kids want them more. They become a sought-after tempting prize and our kids tend to think about them way more than they need to. When they do have access, they tend to over-indulge and “get them in while they can”. This isn’t what any of us want, and I know that we all want our kids to grow up with a positive relationship with food. A good first step is to offer these foods regularly and alongside other nutritious foods (meals and snacks). Stay calm about them and your kids will follow suit!
Now that that’s out of the way, we can get to the good part – the recipes! We hope that you all enjoy these as much as we do! You’ll likely be able to tell which are snacks and which are treats. Snacks will contain more nutrition and staying power (energy bites, banana loaf, muffins etc.) and treats don’t really (chocolate bark, rice krispie treats and cookies). Regardless, they’re all delicious and your kiddos will love them!