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Kids Should Watch Calories During Holidays, Too

Parents need to control their children's eating during festivities

FRIDAY, Dec. 10, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Your waistline isn't the only one you need to keep an eye on this holiday season -- you also need to make sure your children don't overindulge.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston offers the following tips on how not to eat too much of all that festive food:

  • If you're planning a party, provide children with healthy snacks such as peanut butter crackers, cereal bars, trail mix or fresh fruit instead of cupcakes and candy.
  • If you're going to a holiday party or meal, eat small pre-party meals and offer children low-fat snacks to take the edge off their hunger. During the actual holiday meal or party, children should drink a sugarless beverage such as sparkling water. The liquid will help them feel full without adding calories.
  • When you're preparing your child's plate, shrink the portion size. Offer them more variety and less quantity of food, with an emphasis on vegetables and fruit.
  • Don't make your child clean his or her plate.
  • Parents should set an example by eating slowly and enjoying the social aspects of mealtime. That will show children that the holidays are about family, friends and traditions, not just about food.
  • For dessert, offer children sweet vegetables or fruit as an alternative.
  • When you've finished your holiday meal, take your children out for a stroll or encourage them to go outside and play.

More information

The Nemours Foundation offers advice for parents about child nutrition.

SOURCE: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, news release, December 2004
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