When we become parents, it is an awesome responsibility. A child is like a sponge. The activities we expose them to, the habits we instill in them, and the foods we teach them to eat are the tools we equip them with that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
What’s in this?
Companies know that while parents think they influence the children into what goes into the shopping cart, many times it is the other way around. They market their sugar-filled foods to children. Then they slap labels like “fat-free” on the label so mom eventually gives in. But if she stopped to read the box she would see sugar disguised in most of the labels
We need only look at the obesity problems of children to know the importance of raising sugar-free children.
Tips to help you avoid sugar issues
If a child is not exposed to sugar in the first place, they are not going to be the media target. Think about a child born to a diabetic parent. That parent is going to have healthy choices in the house. From the time the child is born, he or she associates with those foods. A reward is an extra box of raisins or a smoothie. Here are some tips to help you begin.
- Limit the sugary foods in the house, and do not leave them out to be seen
- Make it clear what is and is not acceptable to those you care for your child
- Do not deprive your kids of special treats and special occasions. They will know other kids are getting sweets at parties or on holidays.
- You can buy sugar-free candy online and let them have their treat
- Create sugar-free candy buffets for birthdays, parties, and holidays
- Limit the importance of food
- Food is not to be used to reward or punish them. Teach them moderation, self-control, and pleasure in all activities.
Encourage healthy activities that will develop with your child
Many people allow their children to participate in seasonal sports. That is a great thing for kids who enjoy them. But there are other activities that teach children balance, teamwork, self-assurance, style, and grace.
Gymnastics, dance, and biking are great even for very young children for learning to control their bodies. You can use these teachable moments to explain what foods do. For example, explain how protein helps repair muscles and how carbohydrates give them energy.
Start now – It’s easier than you think.
It is always easier to create a good habit in children than to break a bad one. An Easter basket with a plush toy and a few pieces of sugar-free candy is just as exciting to a child as one filled with a ton of sugar coated tummy aches. The main difference is that they do not experience the sugar rush, crash, or withdrawal that comes with a high-sugar diet.
Children who are given healthy activities from early on, grow to know their own bodies and trust their own instincts. Their bodies and minds function at their maximum potential at every stage of life. Often the child who is taught these life lessons goes on to teach them to their own children. This is your gift to future generations.
Contributed by Wendy Dessler