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Kids and Holiday Eating

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So we’re about to kick off the summer season with Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means… barbecues, parties, and tons of treats for the kids to devour. But if you’re trying to be careful about what your family eats, the weekend doesn’t have to be a complete write-off. Here are a few simple tips to help you keep things under control:

Offer unlimited good stuff: Instead of setting out bowls of chips or cookies, offer up plates of fruits and fresh veggies. If they’re grazing, they can munch away to their heart’s content. And when they’re ready to sit down and eat, they can indulge in a limited amount of treats.

Bring the healthy food: If you’re contributing to a potluck and you know the rest of the meal will involve heavy macaroni salad and soupy baked beans, be the one who brings the healthy option, like a hummus-and-pita-bread platter or veggie chili.

Drink the water: As summer begins, kids need more to drink, and they’re more likely to reach for the ubiquitous, sugar-filled juice boxes or soda cans. Cut down on sugar by offering ice-cold water whenever possible. If you’re headed to a park, set up in a place that’s reasonably close to a water fountain.

Burn it off: Make sure your Memorial Day plans allow time for your kids to do plenty of walking, running, swimming, or jumping. And skip the TV time.

Keep things in perspective: In the grand scheme of things, a single scoop of ice cream with some sprinkles is probably better for them (and has less sugar) than two tubes of squeeze yogurt. So don’t be too stingy with the treats or else they may go overboard in a different direction.

Let them plan the menu: Ask your kids for their input on what fresh fruits and vegetables they want to incorporate into the meal. You may be surprised at the results. Our 3- and 6-year-olds wanted to make a treat for the weekend, so they took it upon themselves to invent their own recipe for Berry Poppers (pictured above), which they then proceeded to devour. Go figure.

Berry Poppers (a.k.a. The World’s Simplest Recipe):

1 pint fresh raspberries

1 pint fresh blueberries

Gently wash the berries and let them dry. Carefully slide one blueberry into each raspberry. Arrange on a platter. Eat.

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