Dieticians share tips for keeping kids from overeating during holiday season

By: Trishna Begam Email
By: Trishna Begam Email
Healthy food during holiday season

Battling the bulge can be difficult during the holiday season, but it is possibly to treat yourself and stay healthy. (WRDW-TV / Dec. 12, 2011)

News 12 at This Morning / Monday, Dec. 12, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The weeks leading up to Christmas are the time to reach for brownies and pies.

Darryl Richardson, a parent and fitness trainer, said kids look forward to these sugary treats.

"The cakes and pies, it starts from Halloween," Richardson said.

As a fitness trainer, he knows how too much weight gain can lead to health problems early on in life.

"As they grow up, that's when diabetes, high blood pressure and all that comes from the food we eat," Richardson said.

A study from the University of Cincinnati shows young overweight children are in danger of gaining an unhealthy amount of weight during the holidays.

"You gotta let a kid be a kid, at the same time you have to be parent as well," Richardson added.

Dieticians recommend tricking them.

"Maybe consider alternating your holiday recopies. Find some lower calories ingredients to replace the higher calories ones," said Angie Johnson, a dietician at University Hospital.

Cut back on the sugar and use substitutes like natural sweeteners.

Sunitha Zechariah, the clinical nutritional manager at University, suggested making small brownie bites instead of big squares.

But no matter how much you try to cut back on the calories and sugar in the treats, sometimes parents need to take a stand.

"You have to say no sometimes," Richardson said.

Even though young adults probably have a faster metabolism, over indulging shouldn't be an option.

"It's OK to get a candy bar but get fun size," Zechariah said.

A regular size will get you 270 empty calories.

Next time you or your child reaches for that brownie, just keep in mind a regular-sized portion will run you an hour on the treadmill to burn it all off.

Children should also get some physical activity. Dieticians recommend at least an hour a day.

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