Watch Out: How Candy & Soda Is Taking Over and What to Do About It
The change should certainly start in the home. It is important to train your child's palette in regard to natural foods. Steer kids away from overly processed foods with added sugar. This rule applies to almost all snacks and other kinds of treats that you deem appropriate. For instance, refrain from giving kids artificially sweetened yogurt despite the fact that yogurt seems to be a healthy snack or dessert. The added sugar will make them resistant to natural yogurt in the future and add fuel to the sugar-fuelled fire.
When it comes to desserts, a little extra consideration can go a long way when it comes to shaping the dietary habits of your children. Stick to homemade desserts and non-processed foods as much as possible. You can still satisfy a child's sweet tooth without causing them to develop extremely unhealthy habits. Offer children desserts that are wholesome and naturally sweet such as dark chocolate and fruits. Allowing children to adapt to mildly sweet products can make them predisposed to healthier desserts. If they are rarely exposed to sweetened products that are processed and unhealthy, then the taste of such products can be potentially overwhelming and distasteful for them in the future.
Kids should not be given the impression that sweets are different from any other foods or off limits in general. Develop a healthy attitude towards consuming foods including sugar. Set examples for kids that allow them to understand when it is appropriate to eat sweets and in what kinds of portions as well. Controlling the desire for sweets comes through training that addresses complete eating habits in addition to the types of sugars consumed. Foods should not be labeled as good and bad either. Instead, kids should be educated in the types of food that are vital for health and nutrition versus those types of foods that are simply fun and geared towards satisfying only their taste buds. Help children to understand the proper portions for these foods as well. A good rule of thumb for most parents is the 90 and 10 rule. At least 90 percent of the foods you consume each day should be healthy foods while 10 percent can be snack and fun foods that are naturally sweet.
Communication is also important for children when it comes to sweets. Allowing them to know exactly when they can have sweets lets them look forward to the next time that they enjoy the given treat. If children believe that they will not be given sweets in the future or are subject to harsh guidelines with these substances, then they are much more likely to overindulge when given the chance. After children have been given the proper guidance and allowed time to understand what a healthy approach to sugar is for them, then allow them to take the lead when it comes to desserts. Giving them power to make the right choices themselves will increase their confidence and resolve with their diet. This confidence increases the likelihood that they will make wise choices outside of the home and when faced with peer pressure.
Many parents also fail to educate their children concerning the connection between hunger and food. Children must be trained to recognize their hunger while only consuming foods in order to satisfy that hunger. Many kids will eat simply because food is in front of them. This skill is extremely valuable in the real world. In the home, sweets, soda, and other foods are typically only available at certain intervals or on a meal schedule. Outside of the home, sweets and soda can be available every minute of the day. Understanding that food and sweets are meant to be part of a larger, nutritional plan that is centered on hunger and health is one of the most valuable lessons that children can learn from an early age.