One of the most common dilemma that all parents face today is how to tackle the sugar consumption of their children. The point is not just about the consumption of desserts, cookies, etc., but one also needs to take into account all those foods that have hidden sugar in them; for eg.: sauces, take outs, salad dressings, low fat alternatives that otherwise might seem healthy, etc. With both parents working and children living in nuclear families, this gets even more difficult as convenience sometimes takes over the priority. After a busy day at work, we do not want to deal with temper tantrums or opposition to a meal.
Here are 4 steps that can be the start of your journey towards dealing with your child’s sugar fixation:
1. Serve the dessert with a meal
There’s nothing that works better than surprising your children with a dessert when they least expect it. As a family, you may have decided that your children are allowed a dessert twice a week on say Wednesday and Saturday. Try giving them on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and catch them off guard. They will be delighted and slowly over time the negative relationship with these foods will start improving.
Better still, serve them with a meal rather than after a meal. Over time you will see that they start eating more vegetables without any extra effort. It’s all about building a positive relationship with different types of foods.
2. Increase fluid intake
Sometimes the reason for your child craving sugary foods can be due to inadequate fluid intake and certain deficiencies like magnesium, calcium, iron, etc. Taking care and correcting the above can also help.
3. Change your language
From a young age our children hear us talking a certain language hen it comes to fruit and vegetables, and sugar. We brand the former as healthy and the latter as unhealthy. It’s time to change our language about these. Start talking more neutral, and focus more on the properties of the foods. The second thing to do is to stop offering them as rewards and associating special importance to them. Make them equivalent to fruits and vegetables and while talking your tone should be neutral. Do not react if they want second helpings or want to eat a dessert out of turn. This will ensure that over time these foods will lose the importance and become less special.
4. Swap healthy and natural sugars for refined sugars
It has become easier to source desserts, cookies, etc. with natural sugars like coconut sugar, dates, etc. nowadays. Look out for brands that make these and order from them. One such brand is KARAMELE that is based in New Delhi. You can also try experimenting in the kitchen yourself with these, the internet is full of tutorials and recipes.