Healthy Thanksgiving recipes may or may not be part of your meal. After all, plenty of Thanksgiving recipes are rich, fatty and steeped in tradition. While the once a year gorging may not adversely affect your child, the stress that seems to go hand in hand with the holiday preparation certainly does have a negative impact on the youngster. There are five healthy Thanksgiving tips that help your child make good nutritious choices and avoid stress. Best of all, these tips might just benefit you as much as they will your little ones!
1. Keep the Kids Active
It is tempting to let the television act as babysitter. After all, who needs kids in the kitchen when you are juggling a 20-pound turkey, a bucket of mashed potatoes and scalding hot pumpkin puree? Yet for a healthy Thanksgiving, it is a better idea to encourage the youngsters to go outside and play in the yard (on the West Coast) or play board games if the weather proves unsuitable for outdoor fun. Stock up on board games if needed. If all else fails, the Wii is always a good alternative.
2. Eat a Healthy Lunch
Thanksgiving meals rarely hit the table exactly at lunchtime. This leaves tummies rumbling. Dishes filled with sugary snacks look more and more appealing. Before you know it, your child will have eaten his fill of candy, salted nuts and See's Candy chocolate before you can get even an ounce of lean protein into his system. The resulting sugar rush is not a pretty sight to behold. Good lunch ideas for the kids include the same types of foods you would pack in a school lunch. The kids might actually get a kick out of eating a sack lunch before the big feast.
3. Healthy Dinner Ideas Start at Home (before heading for grandma's house)
If the Thanksgiving meal is a dinner affair, fortify your children's stomachs with healthy food choices. This is particularly important if the Thanksgiving recipes are filled with lard, butter, salt and sugar. Arrive at the meal somewhat hungry but not ravenous. Your children may eat their fill of the sweet potato bake but will not overdo it.
4. Use the Salad Plates
Dinner plates have gotten bigger, but this does not mean that you have to use these overgrown saucers. Instead, opt for salad plates and encourage the children to carefully pick and choose their helpings. Sure, Aunt Sue might try to correct the kids and hand them the big dinner plates instead; this is where you have to put down your parental foot and insist on the use of the salad plates.
5. Plan the Day with Care
A healthy Thanksgiving thrives on planning. While visiting your family -- or welcoming guests -- always adds a bit of a wild card to the mix, you should have a generally good idea of what to expect. If you know that the Thanksgiving recipes will be unhealthy, help the kids fill up on healthy snack foods before arriving. If you know that chaos usually reigns before the meal, plan to arrive just before the bird hits the table. If the chaos will reign in your kitchen, ensure that the children have plenty of games to play, books to read, coloring pages to choose and things with which to occupy their time. Talk through the day with the children ahead of time; as long as they know what to expect, their stress level is bound to be lower.