How To Introduce A Sugar-Free Diet To Your Children

The following article is by Wendy Dressler from Sweet Services, an online candy retailer. You might think that this is an odd article to come from a candy retailer, but they actually have a wide variety of sugar-free candies available.  Just search sugar free on their site.  

In November, I talked about limiting sugar in my article Healthy Holiday Treats and I provided some recipes that used sweeteners other than sugar. This article from Wendy talks about how to decrease sugar in every day life. Enjoy!

Most of us eat 3 times the amount of sugar recommended for a healthy diet each day. It is essential that we reduce the sugar intake of ourselves and our kids.

The American Heart Association says a child should never have more than 3-4 teaspoons of sugar per day. Adults should not exceed 9 teaspoons of sugar per day for men and 6 teaspoons of sugar for women. The problem is most of us consume more than 3 times that amount. The average person in America consumes 66 pounds of sugar per year. That is 66 pounds of zero nutrition, health damaging, and weight gaining food.

If you are ready to tackle this problem and tame the sugar-beast in your home, congratulations! This is a thankless but honorable journey. Below we will give you some tried and true tips that will change your world.

How old are the children?

If your children are young (under the age of 10) the transition will be easier. But, even if they are tweens or teens, this is a winnable cause. You will just approach it differently.

Don’t make it a big deal

Mothers make this mistake often. They decide they are going to make this a life-changing event. They barge through the house with their battle cry. They grab a garbage bag and begin throwing food away from the fridge and the cupboards. They announce that there will be no more sugar in this house.

The kids look shell-shocked. They are not sure what is happening, but judging from your whirl of activity and raised voice, they are pretty sure this is not going to be good. You grab the box of their favorite cookie and slam dunk it into the bag shouting. “No more of this!” All the while you are talking and they feel they are being reprimanded and they do not even know the crime. Take it down a notch.

Don’t make sugar the enemy

Sugar is not the enemy. Too much sugar leads to behavior problems, acne, obesity, and tooth decay. But, sugar doesn’t jump into your plate. It happens when we do not pay enough attention to what we are doing.

Sugar in moderation will not hurt you. With that in mind, some foods can be gradually made healthy. Slowly reduce the sugar that you are adding and replace it with honey, fruit juice, and fruits.

If your child is a tween or a teen, you can explain that you are trying to make a food better for you. The fact is, kids are powerhouses of energy. They need a diet rich in protein, fat, and carbohydrates. They may not see the effects of sugar on their frame. But, if you show them what to look for, they may be willing to change so their skin will stay clear and they will have fewer fillings. They also are swayed by the fact that you are not putting them on a diet. They can still snack on foods that do not contain sugar.  

A family affair

Everyone needs to know how to cook. When your child goes off to college, they need to know how to make their own meals. Take a cooking class. Invite them to join you and make it a family affair.

Sugar Free Kids

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Sometimes you just need a lollipop

There are times when kids are around other kids and they have candy. Not everyone is concerned with what their child eats. Don’t let your child feel isolated. Be prepared. Buy delicious sugar-free lollipops in bulk. There is no need to tell the kids they are sugar-free. To them, it is just a wonderful and special treat.

Going sugar-free is not a diet. It is a lifestyle. Once you address it as a lifestyle change, it is easy to incorporate it into your life and the lives of your children. Soon you will discover that it is easier than you think and a great way to maintain your families health. 

What do you think? Could you make gradual changes to reduce the sugar in your family's diet? Let me know in the comments.