4 ways to help manage your child’s sweet tooth

You won’t win the battle against your child’s natural tendency to love sweets… But how do you deal with sweet foods when they surround us?

Here are four strategies that can help:

  1. Beware of becoming a sugar-free household

We’re told sugar is public enemy number one, so it’s tempting to ban sweet food from home entirely. But heed a lesson from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Willy Wonka became so obsessed with chocolate largely because his parents wouldn’t let him near the stuff. And this isn’t just fiction. When kids feel restricted, this creates what feeding expert Ellyn Satter calls ‘scarcity’. In response, children will obsess and eat more whenever they can.

  1. But don’t allow unlimited access

This doesn’t mean you allow unlimited access to sweets. Too many sweet and ‘discretionary’ foods displace healthier foods and affect food preferences later in life. You can keep them in the house out of sight, and have other naturally sweet and healthy food such as fresh fruit readily available.

  1. Don’t reward with sweets

When you reward eating veggies with dessert the message you’re giving your children is that ‘broccoli is so bad we need to reward eating it with ice cream, the best part of the meal’. And when sweets are used as a reward for other achievements, such as doing well at school, you’ll risk children associating sweets with rewarding themselves.  

  1. Teach the 90/10 rule

Sugar is not bad, it’s just that we’re eating and drinking too much of it. Remind your children that 90% of what they eat is ‘good for you’ food, and 10% can be Fun Foods such as sweets, chips, etc.  

 

Do you need more help?

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