If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll know how hard resisting treats such as chocolate, dessert, and ice cream can be. The chances are, you’ve witnessed your kids complaining when they’re not allowed a treat. There is increasing scientific evidence that eating sugar releases dopamine in the brain, so these cravings are understandable. The question is, how should we deal with them? Read on for three simple tips on addressing sugar consumption with your kids.
Don’t Restrict Fruit
Many children struggle to eat vegetables but love fruit. Encourage this, and make sure there is a wide variety of delicious fruit available in your kitchen. Make fruit salad for dessert, or let your kid help you blend a smoothie. Whilst fruit does contain sugar, it is of a much healthier type than processed treats such as candy bars and cake. Promoting fruit as a healthy alternative will help your kid to feel like they are still getting some sweet treats, but it comes in a much healthier form.
Develop Routines Around Sweets
Whether you decide to introduce a ‘treat day’, where your kid can have a few of their favorite sweets, or whether you opt for a few pieces of chocolate at the end of the day, don’t present sweets as the biggest reward your kid can get. Associating food with rewards isn’t a healthy approach, and can alter your kid’s attitude towards some foods. Demonstrate your own relaxed attitude towards sweets – sometimes you’ll have some, but other days they’re not what you fancy. Your kid will learn to enjoy other foods, and stop putting sugary treats on a pedestal.
Make Desserts Together
By making a cake or dessert together, you and yur kid can talk about the ingredients as they go into the mix. This isn’t about demonizing sugar, but about pointing out that some foods can taste delicious and also have a negative impact on our health. Talk about how a balaned diet is best, and explain this is why you limit sweets to be an occasional treat. Your child is more likely to listen, as they are directly involved in the process of making the treat.