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

Young girl holding Grandma's hand as they walk to a park bench next to the (Mississippi) River.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.”

Fresh Snacks

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

Grandpa and grandson fishingBring 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.

Holiday Traditions

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.