Grandparents find great joy in spoiling their grandkids, but when nearly 1-in-3 children are overweight or obese, it’s important to weigh the options when it comes to meals and snacks. Tina M. Khaleghi, MD, a pediatrician with Meritas Health Pediatrics, shares five tips to help grandparents spoil their grandkids using a little less sugar.
Turn Off the TV
Time together can be well spent at the zoo, a park or running errands. Dr. Khaleghi suggests creating list of non-TV activities for rainy days. “It doesn’t need to be complicated,” she says, “Old favorites like hide-and-seek or board games can be a big hit.”
Offer fruits and vegetables for kids to munch on. For kids who like to dip, hummus and yogurt are healthy options.
Ration the Sweets
If sweet treats are a normal occurrence, don’t stop cold turkey. Instead, dial back the frequency and use portion control – miniature, individually-wrapped candies are a great option.
Let Them Be Cooks
Bring grandchildren into the kitchen to help. “The more a child is exposed to healthy food, the more likely they will develop a preference for it,” Dr. Khaleghi says. From assembling fruit kabobs to rolling turkey meatballs, it’s easy to find an age-appropriate recipe.
You don’t need to sideline favorite holiday food traditions. Little changes can go a long way. Look for healthier baking substitutes to add more nutritional benefit. Also, balance high-calorie options with wholesome sides, such as salad, vegetables and fresh fruit.
Grandparents find great joy in spoiling their grandkids. Instead of the short-term gratification derived from a sweet treat, think about the big picture of kids’ health and the benefits of sharing experiences together.