The Trick (And Treat) That Stops Children From Eating Sugar
Growing up, my dentist father came up with many creative ways to stop us from eating sugar (to protect our teeth).
And while setting an example for us was the most important – my dad was very health conscious and safe to say it’s rubbed off on me – one of my favourite memories from childhood is that when my brothers and I were given lolly bags at birthday parties (are party bags still a thing?) , my dad would literally pay us for them.
We’d come home from these birthday parties and he’d say “I’ll give you 5 bucks if you give me your party bag”.
At age 7, five dollars is essentially winning the lotto, so it was a no brainer for me. I’d take the cash, stash it in my little jar of money, and never a single thought of those trashy lollies would cross my mind.
It was a genius tactic for a few reasons…
Firstly, he made it my choice. I specifically chose the money over the lollies. He didn’t force me to do anything or take anything away from me that I wanted. I willingly gave up the junk, and therefore there were no tantrums or tears involved.
Secondly, I didn’t feel like it was something that was naughty or not allowed. He convinced me that 5 bucks was just a way better option and so I listened!
It really got me thinking about how we approach sugar with kids. No one wants that child who is completely deprived of sugar, that come their friends birthday party, they just can’t stop with the junk, and are literally a kid in a candy store.
But we also want to be setting our kids up for stable moods, concentration, stable energy levels, healthy teeth and body and overall behaviour. And unfortunately a diet high in sugar is not going to serve children.
Is there ever a time to eat junk food?
Of course there is, there are special occasions and events and celebrations and sometimes just pure pleasure.
But most of the time, if you have a healthier option, why not take it. Your future self will thank you for it.
Which is why I don’t think restriction or force is a good way to approach children and sugar. How can we make the more wholesome option a natural choice?
If you want to save yourself the headache later, a few healthy options (to distract from the junk) can only be a positive!
Here’s one tip I know to be true. If you are making something for a crowd or for kids, and you decide to make a healthy version, no one needs to know! If they taste good (which if you don’t mind a humble brag, my recipes do), then you can peacefully direct your guests and kids towards the healthy options, without them thinking they are the “healthy” option.
So this halloween, try to offer your kids the choice, and persuade them with these awesome halloween recipes. We’ve got Spooky Nana’s, Jack O L’Apples, Bloody Fingers and Green Splatter Cookies and Spider Cookies.
I’d love to see how you are approaching Halloween this year! Tag me in instagram @liv.kaplan as I love seeing your creations.