How To Make Christmas Cooking With Your Kids Healthy and Fun
Holiday cooking with kids can be fun!
The holidays are just around the corner, and while many of the foods we traditionally eat around the holidays aren’t the healthiest, there are ways to make those foods a bit better for you and get your kids involved in the cooking process while you’re at it!
It can be hard to have children who are preschool age or younger help out in the kitchen, but it isn’t impossible! Younger children can help locate ingredients from the pantry and can be in charge of gathering needed cooking equipment and utensils, like pots, pans, and spatulas. They can also help dump pre-measured ingredients into a bowl, and they make great mixers! If you are making an item that can be decorated, like sugar cookies, the little ones make great decorators—let them go to town with their artistic talents! The younger children can also take charge of setting the table when the meal is ready.
As the children get older, they can get more responsibility in the kitchen. If your child is old enough to use a knife, let them cut up fruits and vegetables that are being used in your recipe. If they are interested in creating a side dish or part of the meal themselves, give them a recipe to follow, then sit back and supervise as they work to create the meal. Be ready to jump in when they have questions, but allow the older children to be as self-sufficient as they want to be.
The best way to get everyone involved in holiday cooking is by shopping together. Take the whole family on a trip to the grocery store to pick out items that you all might want to try to cook together. You can actually start this process at home by picking out recipes as a family before shopping for the ingredients together. Have the kids pick out the produce and read labels on other ingredients to choose the best items for the recipe.
If you have older children, you can teach them how to read price labels to find the best deals. You can also have them read the nutrition labels to see how much sugar is in one ingredient versus a sugar-free version, for instance.
Eating healthy during the holidays can be a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. Here are a few quick changes you can make to make sure you and your kids are getting enough healthy options during the holidays.
You can make sure everyone is eating healthy by setting out an array of fruits and vegetables to eat as snacks. Grapes and berries are easy to grab a handful of and eat on the run. Sliced vegetables like carrots, celery, and bell peppers are tooth-friendly foods that are full of vitamins and minerals your teeth need to be happy during the holidays. You can also set out nuts, like walnuts or pecans. They’re full of vitamins and minerals that will keep your teeth in tip-top shape.
Calcium is an essential mineral for strong teeth and bones, which makes cheese a great snack to keep around. Cheddar cheese is a popular choice among Americans. Keep a block of cheddar in your refrigerator and slice up some cubes to set out for snacking during the holidays.
Cut out the sugar.
Sugar is everywhere in baking recipes, but there are ways you can cut out some of the sugar while baking without cutting out the flavor. Some alternatives include honey, applesauce, and molasses.
We all know that keeping hydrated is important, and it is no different during the holidays. Make sure your children always have a glass of water available, and encourage them to drink water often. Have your children drink water after eating foods high in sugar to help wash away harmful bacteria that can stick to teeth and form plaque.
Merry Christmas from the team at Pediatric Dental Specialists.
All of us at Pediatric Dental Specialists wish you and your family a very happy holiday season and a prosperous new year! If you haven’t come to see us in a while, make an appointment a priority for the new year—we want to make sure your smile is dazzling the entire year through!