Holiday SugarIt’s here again, the in your face sweetness of the holidays. And, I’m not talking about those cheerful letters you get outlining your friends’ kids’ accomplishments; I’m talking about the sugar. It is everywhere and there are as many opinions on where to draw the line as there are parents.

To bust some myths:

  • Sugar does not make kids hyper
  • It is most likely the over stimulating environment that makes them mis-behave
  • It is otherwise likely to be the caffeine in the chocolate (see previous post here)
  • There is no upper limit to what is recommended in a healthy diet (Health Canada does recommend “reducing” your consumption)
  • Sugar does not cause diabetes (which isn’t the same as having to avoid it if you develop diabetes!)

All that said, the truth is that the less sugar you consume, the better, it offers no nutritional value and does contribute to obesity. Artificial sweeteners are not recommended for children and present an entirely different set of issues. But everyone deserves a little sweet now and then, right?

You, mom, are the only one who can decide what is right for you and your family. Some parents handle it by setting kids free in hopes that they will have their fill and others help children choose one sweet and savour it. I have used both techniques at different times. After all, we do need an arsenal, one tool will never do.

During the holidays I do believe that some freedom is warranted.

Some guidelines:

  • Be sure kids are well fed before they enter a sugar laden situation since feeling full does help one resist the urge to gorge.
  • Insist that they choose some of the real food that is available before indulging in the sweets. Not only does this reduce the amount of goodies consumed but it mitigates the sugar rush. Having a digestive system that also working on good fats, complex carbohydrates and protein slow down the production of insulin. It is a lifelong healthy habit to get into as early as possible.
  • Be the one who brings some real food for the table to make sure it is something your kids like.
  • Help kids understand the difference between what is home baked and what is store bought. They may still choose the sugar sprinkled goopy treat but you will planting the idea that choosing homemade is a good dividing line between being truly worth it and a product whose ingredients are out of your control.
  • Rest assured in the knowledge that recent studies confirm that denying kids everything only makes them want it more.

Let the holiday season begin!

Baked mashed potatoes and potato skins

Best mashed potatoes ever! Plus, they provide a fun side dish to contribute to any holiday table. How? By baking the potatoes in their skins and then scooping, you can save the skins for filling with cheese and rebaking.

Recipe By Theresa Albert, DHN, RNCP
Serving Size: 6
Preparation Time: 0:15

  • 6 medium Baking Potatoes — medium
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • 1-2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup salsa

Preheat oven to 450F.

Scrub baking potatoes with a brush. Prick with a fork in several places. Place potatoes into oven whole and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Mashed Potatoes:

When they are soft, allow to cool or hold with a clean towel and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop insides into a large bowl (save the skins) and add cream cheese, butter and garlic powder. Mash with potato masher and mix until they are the consistency that you like.

Potato Skins:

Lay the potato skins out onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with dried rosemary and cheese.

Bake at 450F for 10minutes to melt the cheese and serve with salsa to dip.