Does it seem that your child goes to a birthday party every weekend? Are you often wondering if there’s going to be another celebration in the class? Do you think your child is going to feel left out if he always avoids sweets at parties?
The answer to these questions is almost always YES. It seems as if there is always another party or celebration on weekends or at school, complete with fattening foods. And YES, your child is going to feel left out if he always forgoes the treats.
Your child does not need to say “NO” to sweets. If you don’t make sweets an everyday occurrence, there is no reason why your child cannot enjoy those foods when he’s out at a party with friends!
Here are ten simple ideas so that your child can make healthy choices at parties with friends and in the classroom.
- Never send your child to a party hungry! Make sure your child has lunch, dinner, or a snack, like a piece of fruit and a granola bar, before sending him out. He will be less tempted to overeat if he is satisfied before leaving!
- If you are hosting the party, don’t let the focus of the party be on the food! Plan games, outdoor activities, play music, etc.
- If you are worried your child will overeat at a school party, be sure to communicate your concerns with the teacher. Ask the teacher to hand out one cupcake, or three munchkins, or whatever the appropriate serving size is to each student and pack the rest away for the birthday boy or girl to take back home.
- When it’s your child’s birthday, bring in lighter versions of your son or daughter’s favorite sweet, mini-sized versions of sweets. Bring only enough so that each student in class can have one!
- Bring in NON-food goodie bags for the kids, with items like streamers, whistles, stickers, colorful pens and pencils, etc.
- If your child is out at a party and there are going to be a lot of tempting choices, encourage your child to pick one or two of his favorite things and just go up once to the snack table!
- If your child goes out to a fast-food restaurant with friends, encourage him to make healthy choices. Go for water or fat-free milk instead of soda. Try the apple “fries” instead of regular fries. Get a small hamburger without cheese instead of Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese!
- Instead of having a party at a restaurant, try having it a roller-rink or a bowling alley, or have it at your house that way you can control what you make!
- Encourage your child to be the one to tell his or her friends not to focus on food and get outdoors and have fun! Sometimes it is about teaching your child to be the agent of change if he or she has friends who like to eat!
- If your child goes to a party where there is nothing but chips, soda and pizza, pre-plan what he is going to pick as his “red” food and if there is a setback be supportive and encourage healthier choices for the next time!