Top Toddler-Friendly Holiday Treat Recipes
The holidays are fast approaching and it’s time to start baking! As a parent, it’s fun to share your holiday traditions with your kids and preparing our favourite treats is at the top of my list! Bonus: involving kids in the kitchen boosts their confidence and helps them create a healthy relationship with food. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to have little helpers who love to dust sprinkles on top of cookies, put muffin cups into muffins tins, and help cut out cookies using holiday-themed cookie cutters. The holidays are a perfect time to help implement my top three tips for helping your child have a positive and healthy relationship with food. Spoiler: it includes making and enjoying holiday sweets with your little ones, guilt-free
Start by getting your kiddos into the kitchen!Whether you are cooking or baking, involving the kids in meal preparation, although potentially very messy, is a great way to help build their confidence in the kitchen and encourage them to actually EAT what they make!
For toddlers and younger kids this includes:
- Peeling stickers off fruits and veggies
- Washing fruits and veggies
- Mixing ingredients (with a little help from mom or dad)
- Using cookie cutters
- Lining muffin tins with muffin wrappers
- Decorating cookies and cakes
For older kids this includes:
- Cutting fruits and veggies
- Cracking eggs
- Rolling out cookie dough
- Mixing ingredients
- Reading recipes out
- Helping to menu plan
Enjoy “treats” together as a family! Too often during the holidays, we over-indulge, (or under-indulge due to guilt or restriction)! This pattern of eating does not set a good example for little ones, nor does it help your relationship with food. Instead, it’s important to consume treats together as a family, randomly but regularly! Don’t “save up” or “hold out” so that you can enjoy a treat. Having them regularly helps take the guilt (and cravings) out of treats.
When it comes to holiday treats, I like to enjoy my favourites and forget the rest. But keep in mind that your favourite treat might not be your child’s favourite! My son loves hot chocolate in the wintertime… often with a handful of marshmallows, probably because it often goes hand-in-hand with days spent outside in the cold playing in the snow. Part of building a positive relationship with food is having positive associations as well. Kids won’t remember the treats as much as the time spent with friends and family. So, remember to enjoy treats together – whatever they may be!
Follow the Division of Responsibility. You may have heard me mention Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility (DOR)before, and for good reason – it seriously works. Treats are especially popular around the holidays, and the worst thing to do is make them forbidden. Instead, focus on your roles of choosing wherefood is served, whenfood is served, and – this is the big one – whatfood is served. If you want to serve your kids my Double Chocolate Holiday Cookies– go for it. Try serving alongside a few other snack options and a trusty cookie sidekick—a glass of milk!
But keep in mind that it’s your child’s responsibility as to whetherthey eat the food provided, and how muchthey decide to eat. So, if your kids want seconds or thirds of a holiday treat, let them! In the long term, they will be better able to self-regulate and not feel guilty about the occasional indulgence.
Now, although indulging in favourite treats is all part of healthy eating, for younger toddlers (those under the age of 24 months) the recommendation for added sugar intake is … zero! Keeping added sugar to a minimum for these little ones, especially during the holidays, can be tricky. Even trickier? If your little one has big siblings! So, to help your toddler feel included in the festive fun, why not add a few more nutritious, low-sugar baking recipes to your holiday traditions. These also make for great food to bring to a kids’ holiday party.
Here are my Top 10 Recipes:
- Baby-Friendly Fruity Cinnamon Cookie by Sarah Remmer
- Chocolate Crack up Cookies by Baby Gourmet
- Easy, Healthy Gingerbread Muffins by Sarah Remmer
- Beetberry Oatmeal Teething Biscuits by Baby Gourmet
- Healthy Homemade Gingerbread Cookies by Sarah Remmer
- Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Breakfast Rounds by Little Spoons & Spice
- Chickpea Baby and Toddler Cookies by Nutrition in Bloom
- Kid-Approved Energy Bites by Little Spoons & Spice
- No Bake Vegan Chocolate Haystack Cookie Bites by Champagne Nutrition
- Low Sugar Cinnamon Raisin-Spice Cookies by The Joy of Eating