Sugar is one of the main reasons that children are sicker and more overweight than they have ever been before. Where you have sugar and modern processed foods, you have obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other chronic diseases, and these diseases don’t discriminate based on age. Over the past 160 years, sugar consumption and obesity have skyrocketed.
You may think that it’s too late to get your small child or teenager off of sugar, but there is always hope. The more good there is coming in, the less room there will be for the bad stuff. And even a reduction in sugar consumption goes a long way on the road to good health. Here are 10 tips to wean your kid off of sugar for good.
1. Add healthy fats to her diet.
Healthy fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil, chicken schmaltz and beef tallow are nutrient-dense and much more filling than sugar-laden grain treats. Try skipping the sugary breakfast cereal and serving up a couple of eggs fried in coconut or some mini burgers served with chopped avocado, lettuce, and tomato. Hard boiled eggs work well, too.
This may seem daunting at first, but you can save time by preparing the bulk of the work the night before. If there is no school, you can prepare meals together. Healthy fats are also much more filling than the empty calories that sugar provides.
2. Clean up your own diet.
Cutting sugar from your child’s diet while sneaking M&Ms on the sly isn’t going to work. Your kid will see right through you. Get serious about your health and the health of your child and clear out the cabinets and cupboards of all the junk. I understand that sugar is very addictive and this can be very difficult!
3. Explain the “why.”
Be age appropriate, but explain to your child that sugar consumption leads to diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Kids love learning big words, so try throwing words like insulin, serotonin and type 2 diabetes around and explaining the profound connection to them and the sugar they love so much. Kids have a hard time realizing that there is a long future ahead of them with regards to almost anything, so this is one to pay close attention to.
4. Add more protein to her diet.
Our bodies have a way of craving sugar when it really wants protein. Proteins contain the amino acids that our brains need to function properly. The best protein sources are wild-caught fish, free-range poultry, grass-fed beef, nuts have been soaked and dried and sprouted legumes.
5. Eat meals together.
Preparing and eating meals together is a lost tradition for too many families. Children have gotten into the habit of eating alone in their rooms, or in front of a screen or grabbing food and not eating proper meals at all. Preparing meals as a family is a learning process for everyone. Mothers learn to have tremendous amounts of patience and children learn to chop carrots, it’s a win-win.
6. Try a new food every few days.
It’s so easy to get stuck in the rut of pasta on Sunday, bagels on Monday, sandwiches on Tuesday and on and on down the boring, carb-rich road. Next time you’re at the supermarket, pick out a few vegetables that you never bought before. Be daring and try a recipe you never thought you would make. This will tantalize your palate (and the palate of your child!) and your tongue will, eventually, find the taste of sugar disagreeable.
7. Beware of too much fruit.
We have all heard for many decades now that nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day are a part of the optimal diet. The thing is, too many of us ignore the vegetable part and eat way too much fruit. Fruit can spike insulin levels as much as a piece of candy or chocolate, so try to wean off of fruits except for olives and avocados for a little while.
8. Go slowly and be understanding.
It’s not easy being a kid. All of your decisions are made for you including when to get up, what you can wear, what’s you’re going to do for the day, and on and on. Give your child a little bit of leeway when it comes to what she eats. If you know that sugar is a problem in her diet, realize that it may backfire if you suddenly take it all completely out of the house, dried fruit and all. Slowly replace the empty carbs with complex carbs like yams, broccoli, zucchini, and grapefruit.
9. Be prepared anywhere you go.
There is sugar in everything. Going for even a quick trip with hungry kids will get frustrating quickly and corner stores and even supermarkets won’t have much to offer unless you have really thought it through beforehand. Save yourself from wanting to pull your hair out by having reliable snacks whenever you go out with the kids. Some snack that you can have ready to go with you are hard boiled eggs, nuts, and seeds, beef jerky, mini burgers, chopped vegetables on skewers, tuna patties, healthy hot dogs, chicken schnitzel strips or mini quiches.
10. Avoid the fake stuff.
Aspartame may seem like a good substitution if your kid has a sweet tooth and you want to give her a reward. The truth is that it’s anything but. Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners have caused so many problems for so many people. Some of the problems with aspartame that have so far been found have been:
- Headaches and migraines
- Vision problems
- Anxiety attacks
- Heart palpitations
- Muscle spasms
and on and on. Some of the studies on these chemicals have had to end early because of the extreme reactions from the participants. It’s just not worth it.
Don’t worry too much, also. There is always hope!
Is your child addicted to sugar and carbs? What have you done to stop him or her from eating sugar? I’d love to read your tips in the comments below!