I know it can’t just be me that has encountered the undoubted struggles at mealtimes caused by Christmas and its showering of sweet treats and snacks. The festive season is very welcoming to food, we relish the opportunity to have a yule tide feast and invest in bountiful snacks and delicacies we would usually not think to buy day to day. But the feasting must come to an end (for us it is slowly getting there but there are still signs of Christmas in our cupboards in the form of chocolates and packets of nuts) and unfortunately children, especially toddlers, must face the reality that they cannot continue to eat the volume of snacks and chocolate provided to them over the last few months. I have a few tricks up my sleeve though Mamas, so do not fear. This is how to conquer your meal time struggles and the apparent ‘post Christmas food aversion’.
1. If you don’t already, ration your child’s sweet treats per day. It is hard to control others giving your children sweet treats and snacks over the festive season but once that has ended its all on you Mama. Hide them away and only bring them out maybe as an afternoon treat. Like any addiction (as I’m confident that that is exactly what is has become…) don’t go cold turkey, slowly reduce the times they can have sweet treats back to before the yule tide festivities bought havoc on eating routines.
2. Slowly re introduce fruit and veg… I would hope that this never faded but it is an undoubted truth that Christmas leaves us with a healthy craving for vitamins! It is highly possible that if your child was a lover of apples and bananas that the potential lack of them and replacement with chocolate and crisps will necessitate their reintroduction.
3. Be sneaky. There is a chance that your child may not notice of you have snuck some blitzed or chopped veg into their pasta sauce. Also on the same not try adding small suits not yogurt or ice cream. Build on what you know they will eat and reintroduce their taste buds to fruit and veg.
4. Juice is the way forward. Not only is there an extremely high chance your child drinks this anyway, but it will give them well needed vitamins and minerals that will have missed over the holidays. We all fall victim to just giving our children squash, but watered down fruit juices (or even pure fruit juice if your little ones struggling to expel the festive seasons offerings – in less flowery language, meaning they are struggling to poop) will be a lifesaver in rebuilding their affection for fruity flavours.
There are some pretty luscious brands out there that aim to help in these troublesome times, Nurture Water is… well… nurturing water! It is packed with added nutrients to help with little ones immunity and has far less sugar then can be commonly found in children’s drinks.
With 45% natural juice and 55% water in a shnazzy colourful pouch with ‘mess free spout’, little people are encouraged to drink a spill free, healthy and supportive water that encourages a immunity and hopes to banish the ‘sweet tooth’ cravings in children from being given high sugar content alternatives.
My little mans fave was the Cherry and Strawberry, but they also come in Orange and Pineapple too. They can also be used on-the-go, which is amazing to know for us busy Mama bees who can sometimes struggle to find a healthy beverage for our little ones when out and about.
5. Try, try again. Yup, like the singing ‘Super foods’ from Sesame Street, I implore you to not give up. It has been proven, amazingly, that children need to try things up to 10 times before they genuinely decide wether they like it or not.
Do not think that after one attempt your child doesn’t like something or has ‘gone off it’. My little one used to adore pasta, but recently (and after Christmas!) is not pastas biggest fan. This is actually the same with a fair few foods he used to love but I won’t stop offering them to him, which has actually been (excuse the pun) fruitful as he has returned to eating things I had almost thought were completely off of his eating agenda.
6. Finally, do not fall victim to ‘well I’ll just make them something else then’. No… no no no. Don’t do it! Chances are if you are guilty of this then your child knows exactly what they are doing. It may sound old fashioned but I have always believed that if they refuse to eat something without trying it, or without giving it a chance, and then you go make them something not as healthy or deemed ‘snacks’ that they will become accustomed to this and continue to do it. Keep offering the healthy food and don’t get disheartened.
And on that note, no pudding unless dinner is eaten also! Otherwise kids will just refuse dinner knowing that they will be given pudding anyway. No child can survive healthily on merely pudding alone!
Any tips to lend struggling Mamas out there who are feeling the post Christmas strain on their childs eating habits? Have you found any of this advice useful?
*This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.