I used to be a sugar junkie.
Yep. Me. Super-uber health freak. Me.
But when my body broke down on me a few years ago, I realized I needed to change my ways. And I knew I needed to teach my daughter better habits too.
The last thing I wanted was for her taste buds to be tainted, and for her to start craving sugar, and processed foods as a small child for her entire life. So, in the beginning I was really strict.
I’m serious. Not a bite for the first few years. The first time I gave her a piece of dark chocolate peppermint bark, I literally thought her eyes were going to pop out of her head. “Mommy!” she squealed. “Yummy! This tastes like toothpaste!” I had to laugh.But I had tainted her and it only got worse. Way worse. The only foods she wants now are sweets. I’ll dehydrate almond date cookies. Fruit roll ups. Date-nut torts. Not sweet enough.
The girl wants sugar.
It’s hard. She’s exposed to it everywhere. She sees the sugar snacks in other kid’s lunch boxes. She is offered sweets at playdates. She is served cake and cupcakes at birthday parties. And now she won’t eat anything else.
I’m not proud of my daughter’s diet.
Here I am – a vegan, raw foodie. And I can’t get my daughter to eat anything without a fight. Her diet consists of gluten-free chocolate muffins, gluten-free, organic, highly sweetened cereals, vanilla sweetened yogurt and popsicles. Ugh.
I serve her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She licks off the jelly and throws a tantrum for the Capri Sun drink box my husband stashed in the pantry. First two ingredients? Highly processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
And I’m worried.
Sugar is a poison. And she’s not getting any nutrients. How am I to establish healthy eating habits for her without the friggin’ tantrums? Every day is a battle. After our last blow out, I decided enough is enough. Here’s my approach to winning the battle against sugar with your kids:
I hate to say it but sometimes it’s necessary.
Sometimes kids will say no to a food because of what it looks like.
Most kids like peanut butter, right? Mine won’t eat it. It’s brown. But when I told her there was sugar on top, she dived right it. I wasn’t really lying. The jelly had sugar in it. LOL.
Do your kids like fruit smoothies? Sneak some veggies in and tell them it has green sugar. You’re sure to win. Snack bars? Mine love them. Buy the healthiest options out there. You just have to be prepared to do your homework.
2). LIMIT THE AMOUNT OF SUGAR
The reality is, if you want your kids off the sugar train, you have to limit the amount they eat. @hayleyhobson (Click to Tweet!)
With more nutritious food in the house, eventually they will stop craving it. So the bonus for them is – you don’t have to take it all away. Just allow them one treat a day.
We do ours after dinner. If Madeline eats her meal, she gets one cookie or one lollipop or one popsicle. And then I keep the most natural versions I can in the house.
Limiting the amount of sugar in your home should decrease your children’s mood swings and tantrums as well. Not to mention, allow them to sleep more restfully at night.
3). DON’T MAKE SUGAR TABOO
The more you make something taboo the more your kids will want it. So if they don’t get it at home because it’s bad, they will raid their friend’s pantries. It’s better to establish a healthy relationship to foods and teach teach your kids about nutrition and the affects of sugar.
I have just given you 3 tips to help get your kids off the poison. What do you do to curb the cravings? I would love to hear from you. Please leave your thoughts in the box below.
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Hayley Hobson is an author, speaker, business coach, yogi, Pilates instructor, and holistic nutritional expert based in Boulder, CO. Her unique and intelligent style promotes strengthening while softening—empowering her clients to heal not only their physical bodies but their hearts and minds as well. To learn more about her nutritional courses, events, and custom programs, visit hayleyhobson.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.
Image courtesy of HayleyHobson.comFebruary 8, 2014