It's almost the end of 2020...phew! We made it! Over the last few months we have focused our blog on resources for your family to help make things a bit easier at home, and focusing on nutrition for the family seemed like the perfect fit for our final post of the year. We are so thrilled to have Vanessa Nicoletta here, a certified Culinary Nutrition Expert, to share some tips and tricks to keep the holidays healthier and happier, without compromising flavour or fun.
Vanessa Nicoletta, Long Island, NY
Kids are notoriously picky eaters. One week they like something, the next week they don’t. But when it comes to sweet treats all bets are off. Suffice it to say, they are much less picky. However, it's possible to support their growth and development (as well as their moods and energy levels) with a little planning and a few simple ingredient swaps. Check out these tips to creating sweet treats that your kids will love and that you can feel good about feeding them during the holiday season.
Avoid refined sugar as much as possible
Ditch the white sugar and use more natural sweeteners like real maple syrup and coconut sugar, which are rich in minerals. It’s important to avoid refined sugars since this can train children to expect super sweet foods. And too much sugar leads to spikes and dips in energy levels which results in cranky kids.
Pick cleaner butter and eggs
If using butter in your holiday baking, opt for grass-fed and organic. Conventional dairy products are highly inflammatory. Swap out commercial eggs for pastured from humanely-raised, happy hens. The yolks are deeper in color, richer in flavor, and more nutrient-dense.
Avoid conventional white flour and choose more nutritious options
Say goodbye to bleach and pesticides in conventional white flour and opt for more nutrient-dense options like almond, oat, buckwheat, brown rice, and chickpea flour which contain more fiber and protein. Look for recipes that use these flours as they don’t behave the same as white flour, so it’s not a simple swap. Avoid nut-based flours if dealing with an allergy (and be sure to check the label on all flours to be sure that the facility they were processed did not use surfaces that were in contact with nuts).
Avoid store-bought gluten-free treats
Store-bought gluten-free treats usually contain filler ingredients like potato starch, corn starch, and refined sugar which can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar. If you prefer to kick-it gluten-free, choose easy, from-scratch recipes with less ingredients.
Make the preparation a family activity
Get your kids involved in making holiday treats! Even small children can help add ingredients to a mixing bowl or shape cookies before you put them in the oven. This is quality family time, and kids love having some control over what they’re eating. Give them foods that can be dipped, rolled, pressed, or mixed together.
So, it is possible for kids to enjoy healthy holiday treats! A few simple swaps and you’ll be on your way to creating a cleaner, healthier and fun holiday season for the whole family!
Looking for some support? I am here to help! I love to create customized nutritional meal plans for busy families that want to eat healthy. Contact me for more information!
My Healthful Holidays Recipe Book is currently available for purchase as well! Click here to order your copy today; it is FULL of delicious recipes for you and your family for this and many more holidays to come.
Certified Instructor for the Academy of Culinary Nutrition
Certified Metabolic Nutritionist
Independent Consultant for Scout & Cellar Clean-Crafted Wines