Holiday Sugar Sanity

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – With the holiday season here, many parents are dreading the sugar rush kids get with the sweet treats. This morning, founder of Better Beginnings, Susie Zachman stopped by our studio to give us ways to keep our holiday sugar sanity.

I founded Better Beginnings to empower parents to raise happy, healthy eaters. In working with parents, I find that many struggle with how to parent around sugar. It is no surprise that if sugar is readily available to children, they will fill up on candy and treats and eat very little healthy food. At the other extreme, when parents keep it out of the house entirely, it becomes “forbidden fruit” and children fixate on it. Since many of you probably still have a lot of pie leftover from Thanksgiving and may even be starting to bake holiday cookies, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how to maintain some sugar sanity during the holidays.

We are talking about added sugar, not sugar that occurs naturally in fruit and unflavored dairy.

Health organizations suggest we limit our children’s daily consumption of added sugar to no more than 3 – 6 teaspoons.

Walk the fine line

When it comes to parenting around sugar, we have to walk the fine line between a a free-for-all (-> constant consumption) & forbidden fruit (-> binge when exposed). Options include….

  • giving kids a “sugar allowance”
  • schedule it, but don’t make a big deal about it (talk about it same way you talk about fruit)
  • out of sight = out of mind (limit what bring into house; fruit bowl vs cookie jar on counter)
  • fade (aka train) the taste buds by gradually reducing sugar in foods like yogurt, cereal, etc.
  • role modeling – studies show children that eat most sugar have parents that eat a lot

Celebrate without added sugar

  • glow-in-the-dark dance party (Amazon 100/$8)
  • celery/grape tomato/sugar snap Xmas tree & kiwi/raspberry Xmas tree
  • wear your favorite hat to the dinner table
  • make your own sweet treats with natural sugar (peanut butter & almond chia truffles)

If you like these ideas, please “like” Better Beginning’s Facebook page because later today Susie will post 10 more fun sugar-free ways to celebrate with kids.

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