Combat Your Kids’ Holiday Sugar Rush with These 5 Tips


The holiday season is officially in full swing! Holidays are an exciting time for children with fun activities, parties, and treats. Sometimes a one-day holiday, can easily turn into a month-long event. Your kids’ holiday sugar rush might seem never ending! While it might seem harmless, too much sugar can lead to some crazy highs and some pretty brutal lows. Here are a few tips to get your kids eating healthy this holiday season — while still being able to enjoy the delicious fun of the season!

1. Plan Ahead: Say “I’ll pass” now so you can say” yes” later!

If your child has a holiday party coming up with lots of sweets, talk to them about skipping dessert the night before. Think about the meals that surround the party and plan on a protein-rich breakfast instead of sugary cereal or pancakes and syrup. Planning ahead, and thinking about what to eat leading up to the party is a great opportunity to teach children about balance. Give your child  high protein meal or plenty of healthy snacks before the party so they don’t go hungry to the event.

2. Focus on Non-food Traditions

Think about non-food holiday traditions in addition to the food-related ones. If many of your traditions are food related, consider creating a few new ones this year. Here are a few of ours:

  • Every year, my girls each get to buy a new ornament to put on the tree. We write their name and date on the ornament. It is a fun way for them to each start their own collection.
  • Pip, our elf, brings the girls new Christmas pjs and puts them under the tree on the first night we decorate it. Hanna Anderson’s organic pjs are our favorite! Not into the Elf on the Shelf as it stands? Try this Elf on the Shelf reboot to better fit your priorities!
  • Read Christmas books! Each year I pull out the holiday books from storage and it is like they are “new” all over again. We keep them in a basket next to our fireplace and enjoy reading them together.
  • Decorating the house, inside and or outside, is a fun way to get into the holiday spirt with your children. 
  • We have a non-food advent calendar. Each day there is a small activity to do whether it is making a card for someone they love, donating cans to a local food drive, picking out a gift for a family in need, or wrapping a gift to put under the tree.
  • We love to spend time on Pinterest. We pin new ornaments or arts and crafts to try this year. Or, we find gift ideas or holiday decorating tips! 
  • We make our own gift wrap with recyclable paper since regular gift wrap is not recyclable. We decorate butcher paper by stamping with half sliced apples, potatoes, and other fun easy-to-find objects. Or we go out into the woods to collect berries and needles to help create a bow.

3. Pack in the Nutrient Dense Foods to help you eating healthy this holiday season.

When your child is home, take the opportunity to pack in the nutrient dense foods to help balance out all the sweet treats. Load up on fruits and veggies and consider swapping out a processed snack or two for a “mini meal” (hard boiled eggs, turkey/ cheese rolls, hummus, and veggies sticks, or apple slices with a nut butter).

4. Enjoy Your Favorite Holiday Treats: without the intense kids’ sugar rush.

Treats are part of the holiday season so enjoy and savor your favorites! Think about treats as truly treats. For example grandma’s once a year holiday fudge, mom’s specialty apple crisp, or a friend’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. Talk to your child about what special foods they look forward to the most over the holidays.

Having a conversation about their favorite treats ahead of time will help them focus in on one or two desserts that grab their eye the most. If they do take one of everything on the table, talk to them about how they are feeling. Perhaps they have a tummy ache or had a meltdown after the sugar crash? Talk to your child about what could have caused the stomachache or melt down.  This can be a powerful learning opportunity for them to make the connection between what they eat and how they feel. Sometimes experience is the best teacher.

5. Think about Providing a Healthy Snack for School Parties

Over the month, there are many opportunities to enjoy sweets. Consider sending in some fruit and veggies in lieu of more cupcakes and cookies. I’ve been part of many classroom parties over the past 20 years, either in my own first grade classroom or my girls’ classroom parties. I have observed that most children love the crafts, games, activities, or a special guest more than the food.

Hopefully these tips keep you and your children eating healthy this holiday season. Your kids’ holiday sugar rush doesn’t have to be a yearly tradition.

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Hi, I'm Misa! I'm a certified health coach, educator, mom of 2 girls, and a wife. I enjoy exercising, cooking, being outdoors, playing with my family, and a night out with my girlfriends. My favorite place is the beach. I feel very lucky to live on the Seacoast with miles and miles of coastline to explore. Prior to staying at home with my girls, I was a first grade teacher for close to 10 years. I recently took a leap of faith, and decided to turn my passion for nutrition and my experience as an educator into a business! My mission is to help families make small, sustainable changes with their nutrition to improve their health. I offer virtual kids cooking classes to help empower kids in the kitchen and show them that food can taste delicious AND be good for us! I especially love working with families of picky eaters, offering them practical tools to add to their toolbox, helping to shape young tastes to appreciate real food. Connect with my on instagram @MisasCleanKitchen, facebook www.facebook/misascleankitchen and my website