There is no doubt, most kids these days would beg you and whine endlessly to get a sweet treat. Why do they crave sugar? Why do adults crave sugar? There have been many books written and studies done that explain this matter in detail. In my article The Shocking Truth Of Candy Rewarding I talk about some of the negative effects of sugar consumption and the interesting yet shocking relation of sugar to…cocaine!
But the purpose of this article is not to talk about the negative effects of sugar. Instead, I’d like to share with you how I, as a parent of a 7 year old am dealing with this, in a society that’s addicted to sugar.
First, I established a set of golden rules, since my child was still very little. I’ll try to share some of the most important rules and tips that still work very well in our house:
- I never give sweet treats as a “reward”. I believe that this will set the path for adults that will reward themselves with sweet treats and more junk food for every good job they’ve done. The outcome is obvious.
- She gets a healthy, home made dessert ONLY after she finishes her dinner or lunch, and NOT every day. That’s how you make them understand that they have to work for it in “nutritional terms”, not in school, sports or behavior. Also, a stomach full with healthy food can counteract much better the possible negative effects of a sugary dessert.
- I encourage her to tell me if she would like something special to eat that she probably saw somebody else eating and then I offer her a healthy alternative. First time she told me she’d like to eat ice cream I went to buy the healthiest I could find at Whole Foods and then I started making my own, using raw cream, raw honey, fruits or cocoa. It is so delicious I could never go back to the store bought one. And you save money too! She is very happy with it and even helps me make it or tells me what flavor she’d like to have. The rich, fat content makes it so much healthier and easier to the body, since it doesn’t generate the spikes in blood sugar levels that all other commercial, low fat ice creams do. (Not to mention the lack of extra artificial “additives”…)
- I talked with all her wonderful teachers about the fact that she’s not allowed to have any kind of candy or treats at school since she’ll have her own, from home. They were so kind to accept to keep her own treats in their classroom desk and give them to her with each occasion. This way you don’t let the child feel excluded, while at the same time you make sure she’s not ingesting “toxic material”. The treats she has from home include foods that she actually loves to eat and she’s happy with the alternative: like raisins and cashews.
- I was asked once if I think it’s ok to “single her out” this way and put her under a special treatment. Wouldn’t that cause “emotional trauma”? Personally I believe it’s GREAT to feel and be different from the crowd and I teach my child to stick with healthy choices, regardless of how many people do or don’t do the same. There are many others that can’t have “treats” due to gluten intolerance, diabetes or allergies. Our family is allergic to junk food. How come is that different?
I can say that like many other people, there was a time I had sweet cravings as well. But that time seems so far away now. Interesting enough and very true indeed, since I improved my health and ate the diet that fits my metabolism so perfectly, I don’t even know what cravings are anymore…I only get hungry around my usual meal times. Hungry for REAL FOOD. It really feels like “freedom”.
How about you? How do you deal with “sugary treats” in your home? I’d be delighted to hear your answers!
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