Top 10 Tips On How To Break Your Child’s Sugar Addiction
Sugar: A trick or a treat?
How to tell if your child is addicted to sugar?
- regularly eats large amounts of sugar
- stays up late
- experience frequent mood swings
- constantly hungry
- difficulty focusing or paying attention
- picky eaters
Top 10 Tips on How to Break Your Child’s Sugar Addiction!
- Lead by example. Our children learn about life, love and yes, even food, from us, the parents. So, if you’re wanting to create healthier eating habits in your children you have to first start with yourself. Do you snack on sweets often? Is dessert a must after dinner? You can’t say one thing and do another. Show them that if you care then they should too. Take steps for yourself to be the model of healthy eating.
- Start early. Eating habits start even before birth, so the sooner you start this journey the better. If you can, limit the amount of sugar your child eats starting at birth. They don’t need to eat candy, cakes, and ice cream to have a memorable childhood. Teach your children to have a healthy relationship with sugar at an early age. And if your child is well into preteens you still have time. Start now!
- Focus on health. Don’t talk with your children about weight gain, being over weight, or trying a weight loss program. Just focus on health. Children who are exposed to weight talk at an early age have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder and/or engaging in dangerous weight control behaviors. Instead, teach health. Show them that eating healthy is a valuable priority to have and can be the foundation to a long and happy life.
- Allow freedom of choice. I believe that each child is capable of making healthy food choices, just as long as the parents are providing the proper support and encouragement. When we educate our children in what proper nutrition consists of and provide a range of healthy foods for them to eat, they will, over time, learn to make healthy choices around food. This is a great way to take the pressure off the parents so that when your child does make a poor food choice, you can be confident that you showed up and did your part as a parent and with time your child will follow.
- Teach them to listen to their bodies. As your children get healthier, they will begin to notice the foods that affect them negatively, like sugar. Show them how their mood and body changes. Help them to notice the difference between what healthy sugar, like an apple, feels like and what the processed sugar, like a cookie, feels like. Show them the addictive behaviors of sugar and how it will affect them. Children are smarter than we think and when presented with proper information, they are capable of making smart choices.
- Investigate Labels. You probably are aware of the power you have when reading a food label. Why not give this power to your children. Teach them to read food labels at an early age. Show them what is in the food they buy and/or want to buy. Teach them the many faces of sugar and talk with them about why it’s added into almost everything we buy. Give them the knowledge to make wise choices around food.
- Prepare meals as a family. When you prepare meals as a family you give them opportunities to have control in what they are eating so they will be more enthused about eating the healthy food they made. Studies have shown that children who eat the same meals as their parents tend to have healthier diets. So preparing and eating healthy food as a family models healthy habits.
- Create a sugar free home. Make your home a healthy place for them to roam. Limiting the sugar in your household is a must for children who are struggling with sugar cravings. Have healthy snacks for them like fresh fruit, raw nuts and/or trail mix. These are healthy alternatives to processed snacks. We often do sweet fruit, dates, and sometimes maple for our children when they are craving something sweet. Find a healthy alternative for your child.
- Push for produce. Having less processed sweets in the house, your children will naturally gravitate to foods that have a natural sweetness. Always push them toward the freshest alternative…fruits and veggies! Make sure they are getting proper nutrients, such as carbs, proteins, and good fats in their bodies. Eating healthy foods with give them a natural energy boost without the scary sugar spike.
- If you fail to plan, you plan to fail! This one is always the most important. There are so many situations out there that will expose children to high sugar, high processed foods, so have a plan for each situation. Think ahead about birthday parties, school functions, and even soccer snacks. Have a plan that works for you and your children. Pack their food, eat before you go, buy a special treat for them to have while at the party. Find a way to support healthy habits and allow them to get involved. Talk to them about the plan and listen to their suggestions. Children are fully capable of making smart choices when they are taught.
Need More Help?
Resources I recommend…
- Book: Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today
- Cook Book: The Best Sugar Free Vegan Cook Book: 6o Easy Recipes for a Healthy Lifestyle for the Whole Family
- Book: Beat Sugar Addiction For Kids Now!
- Documentary: Fed Up
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and have been great resources for me.
I’d love to hear what you are doing to break your child’s sugar addiction and encouraging them to have a healthy relationship with food. Comment and share below, and stay tuned for more tips and resources on eating well!