The sugar found on our kids’ plates is no longer just a nutritional issue but a behavioral and mental/emotional one as well. What we fill our children’s bodies with affects how they think, how they feel, how they behave… it affects who they are.
No one wants to be the bad guy and so often it is tempting to win over the hearts of little ones with a sweet treat. It seems innocent at the time but what if it is more harmful than we think?
With a significant rise in attention disorders in young children that matches the increase in highly processed foods filled with hidden sugars and additives, it is necessary to ask the question of whether or not these hidden sugar sources are contributing to behavioral issues in children.
So what can we do to get kids off of sugar?
- Getting kids off of sugar doesn’t mean no dessert!
- Use natural forms of sugar such as fruit and dates to sweeten desserts for kids – make mango banana ice cream or other fruit based desserts that nourish kids without the intense blood sugar spike
- Grow their green thumb
- Teaching kids how to garden and showing them how to nourish themselves using ingredients that they’ve grown themselves is extremely empowering. This emphasizes the importance of real food to them and shows them that their meals shouldn’t come from a box.
- Get them in the kitchen!
- Getting kids into cooking is the number one way to transition them off of sugar. Cooking classes provide them with a sense of understanding about nourishing themselves because they’re involved in the process of preparation. It is beautiful to see a child harvest a vegetable and get the chance to actually take that vegetable and cook it for themselves. Kids will often be far more open to eating vegetables that they think are “ugly” if they’ve grown it themselves.
- Pick one Saturday a month to head to the farmer’s market
- Yes, this can be extremely difficult with soccer games and activities that usually take place on Saturdays but by designating just one Saturday to the farmers market you can familiarize your child with the process of buying local and high quality produce. Not only is this valuable for their eating habits but farmers markets are also incredible displays of community and often have much more to offer than vegetables!
- Most importantly: the change starts with YOU
- You need to get off of sugar for yourself first. Trying to transition your child off of sugar while you’re still struggling with your own sugar consumption is a futile effort. Children are extremely intuitive and will be able to sense that you’re not in it with them. Having a sugar free household will do wonders when it comes to making a meaningful change.
We know sugar is making a significant impact on the next generation’s health and mental disposition so use these tips to be the change our children need us to make. If that change seems daunting, Sweet Freedom is here to help.