Avoiding Sugar Plums: 101

It’s that time of the year when it feels like the only thing more abundant than Christmas decorations, music and advertising is SUGAR! Everywhere you go, everywhere you look, there is sugar-filled food and drink tempting us and distracting our children.

Perhaps it’s the time of the year, but it seems like the whole world suddenly seems okay with taking in loads of extra sugar. This puts you as a parent in a very difficult situation. You want your child to be able to enjoy some of the festivities and traditions of the season, including the cookies, candy canes and hot chocolate, but you’re also aware of how that much sugar can affect their health.

By now, most people know that too much sugar is bad for children’s health. It’s not so much that sugar can make children hyper, but more about how it affects their immune system and can further tooth decay. Too much sugar can lead to childhood obesity, which can turn into major health problems as the child grows to be an adult.

So what can you do to help your children avoid too much sugar when they seem to be surrounded it? Here are a few strategies:

  1. Choose a Different Drink

Most of the increase in sugar intake we have seen over the years comes from sugar-sweetened beverages. As a parent, you can make a huge dent in your child’s sugar intake by simply offering a sugar-free drink.

  1. Expand Your Child’s Palate

Children, like adults, start to crave sugar when they are looking for something new to satisfy their sweet tooth. Try adding new foods and tastes to your menu to keep their taste buds satisfied.

  1. Forego, But Don’t Forbid

Kids will always want what they can’t have. If you completely cut out all sugar and strongly forbid your children any sweets at all, you may only be creating a greater desire for sugar in your child. Teach your children instead that, while you as a family do have the choice of eating sugar, you are choosing to enjoy something different.

  1. Controlled Portions

Again, cutting out all sugar may be completely impossible. However, you can stay in control of how much sugar your child is consuming by making sure you are the one who is giving them sugar at the appropriate times and an appropriate amounts.

  1. Open Discussion

Our children are very intelligent and they can pick up on things much easier than we sometimes give them credit for. More than often, straightforward discussion with your children about the effects of too much sugar can help them understand. When it clicks in their head, you suddenly have them on “your side” when it comes to avoiding sugar.

It’s not always easy to keep your kids away from sugar, especially when we as parents have our own sweet tooth to contend with. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up if a moment of weakness occurs. Follow your best judgment and work to get back on track.

Remember that AllKids Urgent Care is here for you if your child should get sick. We’re open every day from noon to 10:00 pm for any and all of your urgent pediatric needs.

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