C is for Cookies, Cake, Candy & Cupcakes!
Think your kids are eating way too many sweets? Are you trying to find ways to decrease it? (Me too). Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Sweets are fun to eat because, well, they’re fun! Make other foods just as fun. My daughter loves when I make fruit or veggies kabobs. She holds the skewer up high with it’s “rainbow of laughter” (her words) and gobbles it down.
- Don’t provide sweets all the time or as rewards. They’ll expect it every day or every time they do something good. Play it down and make it a casual treat.
- Treats are fine, but stick to portion sizes. I love teaching my daughters how to read a food label and when they want a cookie, I always say “What is the serving size?” They read the label and come back with a “2 cookies, mom.” Not only do they get a treat but they realize they cannot have the whole box and it teaches them about proper portions at the same time.
- I love when I hear my older daughter tell her friends: “Don’t drink your calories.” Not only do sugary drinks bathe every corner of their teeth, but those calories add up quickly. I’d rather eat a cupcake than guzzle down a Slurpee, a large soda or glasses of juice. Encourage them to drink milk or water with their meals and ditch the calories in the sugary drinks.
- Lead by example. Let your kids see you sprinkle a little chocolate syrup over fresh strawberries, let them help you cut up fruit for a fruit salad, or share some crunchy carrots and dip with them as your treat
- Offer a healthy snack first before the junk. When my kids say they want a snack, I say “have a fruit or veggie first, and then you can have the snack.” My younger daughter is so used to it, that now she will say to me “I had cherry tomatoes, can I have cookies now?”
- If they don’t eat their meal, don’t allow them to grab ice cream instead. If they were really hungry, they’d eat their meal. When they say they want a snack, say “Strawberries or apples?” Don’t give them the opportunity to say I want a piece of cake.
- Watch the sugar in breakfast cereals too. Teach them how to read food labels, determine the amount of sugar in the product and guide them toward the healthier ones. Compare the healthy cereals and the sugary ones and then let them decide which healthy one they want to buy.
- Don’t eat in front of the TV. Stop this vicious cycle now before your kids are adults and sit in front of the TV with a gallon of ice cream and a huge bag of chips, and eat mindlessly for three hours straight.
- Get creative! Cut fruit into fun shapes with cookie cutters (great with fruits like apples and pears). Prepare funky fruit kabobs. Make frozen treats with yogurt and fresh fruit chunks.
The next time your children do something amazing, swap the donut for a giant hug and kiss instead. Tell them how much you love them!
P.S. That yummy “portion controlled” dessert on the top of this blogpost was made with love, by my friend Chris.
What have you found that works to help decrease your children’s sugar intake? Please share your ideas with me!
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