Just Say No to Sugar
By: Brooke Daniel
A typical grocery store trip for my family always includes pleading and begging followed by tantrums for high sugar, low nutritional value foods. My child is mesmerized by the cartoon characters, neon colors, and promise of toys inside these boxes. “This is full of sugar” or “This will rot out your teeth” falls upon deaf ears. If you can relate to this daily battle over sugar, I have some solutions for you!
1. Keep their blood sugar balanced. Send them with string cheese or a small bag of nuts to school. After school, offer celery sticks with almond butter. Snacking on healthy, low sugar foods helps to keep their glucose levels from fluctuating. Keep fruit snacking to a minimum as it does spike blood sugar. Instead, serve fruit with a meal and not as a dessert.
2. Incorporate sugar replacements. Focus on natural sweeteners, such as honey and agave nectar. Add a teaspoon of honey to plain yogurt for a delicious breakfast treat. Mix together a few teaspoons of agave nectar with popcorn for a weekend snack. You can also try adding salt to fresh fruit to brings out its natural sweetness. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on watermelon or pineapple.
3. Watch what you (as a parent) eat. When I first began my clean eating journey, my daughter was disgusted with what she saw me preparing. She would stick out her tongue to everything she saw me cooking. I admit that I took the easy way out and would prepare a separate dinner or snack for her that wasn’t necessarily a healthy option. I realized over time that giving in to her sugar addiction was not helping her in any way. I gradually began implementing the above solutions. Within a few months, we were able to sit down for the same meal together!
Transitioning off sugar is difficult for anyone. It is a process best undertaken gradually with much love and support. Don’t go through the pantry and toss everything in the trash. However, do start by incorporating healthier food options. In no time at all, you will notice improvements in your child’s mood and energy.
Photo courtesy of iStock.com/OcusFocus