Our Kids Are Surrounded By Sugar
As our kids get older, sugar seems to be EVERYWHERE. Parties, school events, after school programs, every gas station, and store…ugh. With so much processed food, it's crucial to establish a stable foundation of healthy eating habits and prioritize family dinners. We literally eat fit-flavors nonstop. And I try really hard to cook 1-2 times a week. One day I’d love to be cooking 4-5 nights per week. Maybe that is a 2027 goal for me. HA
One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to navigate the sugar dilemma and promote a healthier lifestyle for our children.
Here’s what I typically say in response:
Make Meal Planning and/or having prepared foods a Priority: Take charge of your family's meals by planning them in advance. Set aside some time each week to decide on a menu that includes wholesome, balanced options. I’m not perfect, but I make sure to have solid staples in our cooler. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. By being prepared, you'll be better equipped to avoid relying on processed foods laden with sugar. Use fit-flavors as a resource if you’re local to St. Louis.
Involve the Kids: Get your children involved in the meal planning process. Ask them for input, allowing them to choose their favorite fruits or vegetables for the week. When kids feel included and have a say in what they eat, they're more likely to embrace healthier options.
Create a Welcoming Dining Atmosphere: Make family dinners a cherished tradition by creating a fun environment. We play games like telephone or trivia at the dinner table and the kids love it. This dedicated time together will not only strengthen family bonds but also provide an opportunity to model healthy eating habits and make the dining experience enjoyable.
Lead by Example: Children often mirror the behaviors they observe. As parents, we can play a pivotal role in shaping their relationship with food. Be a positive role model by making healthy choices yourself. Limit your consumption of sugary snacks and beverages, and opt for nutritious alternatives. When your kids see you prioritize balanced meals and savor nutritious foods, they'll be more inclined to follow you.
Educate on the Impact of Sugar: Help your children understand the effects of excessive sugar consumption on their health. Engage in age-appropriate conversations about the importance of a balanced diet and the potential consequences of consuming too much sugar. Empower them with knowledge, enabling them to make informed decisions when faced with sugary temptations. Recently my son Vinny ate too many donuts at one sitting then complained about how bad his stomach hurt,I helped him make the connection that he ate too much sugar and that’s why his tummy was upset. I softly reminded him to stop at 2 donuts.
Encourage Moderation, Not Deprivation: It's essential to strike a balance between moderation and restriction. Instead of completely banning sugary treats, teach your kids about moderation and mindful indulgence. It’s the 80/20 philosophy. Encourage them to enjoy treats occasionally while emphasizing the importance of nourishing their bodies with wholesome foods. We always have treats in our house because deprivation early on in childhood can lead to disordered eating patterns when your kids are able to make their own choices.
These are just a few things that work for me and my family. We’re not perfect and we can do A LOT better. As my kids keep getting older (and busier), I want to hold our family’s nutritional values and even writing this blog has given me the little mini reset I needed.
Wishing you success on your journey towards healthier eating habits as a family!
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