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Home / News and Events / Health Tips / Enjoy, but don't overdo holiday treats
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Enjoy, but don't overdo holiday treats

Reviewed By: Kyle Brothers, M.D., pediatrician, Pediatric Weight Management Clinic (Last Updated: November 1, 2013)

by Christina Echegaray

With the holiday season comes a cornucopia of goodies as well as a seemingly infinite number of pleas from children clamoring to their parents: "Please, just one more?"

While it's fine for people, including children, to indulge over the holidays, they shouldn't overdo it. Overeating during the holidays can lead to bad habits that last the rest of the year, says Kyle Brothers, M.D., a pediatrician who practices in the Pediatric Weight Management Clinic at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.

"Holidays are a time for special ‘sometimes' foods," said Brothers. "There is nothing wrong with enjoying a special treat, but be careful not to turn all of October, November, and December into a period when children enjoy special treats every day. Save those ‘special' foods for the actual holiday."

Weight gain during the holiday season can be common for a lot of people, but families can ward off the extra pounds by staying active while having fun.

"Schedule special times to do things together that are active and fun - go cut down a tree together, go for a winter walk in some of Nashville's wooded areas, walk through neighborhoods to check out Christmas decorations," Brothers recommends. "These will be some of your family's most treasured holiday memories."

But parents can also use the time as an opportunity to introduce children to new, unfamiliar foods - maybe a vegetable dish or an exotic casserole.

Don't get discouraged, however, if your child turns his or her nose up at new foods. There's a reason for the saying, "try, try, try again."

"Just as children may not like a new song or a new movie the first time they experience it, they might not take to new foods immediately," Brothers said. "That's OK! Children need to try things over and over again before their taste matures. This is part of growing and learning."

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