The vast majority of children like sugar, and some more than others. The problem? Sugar is not only bad for your teeth, but also for your he alth in general.
What to do when you have a real sugar bug under your roof? While almost all children love sweets, which are synonymous with celebrations and happiness, some of them push the note a little too far. When you know how harmful sugar is (the recent documentary Sugar Coated by director Michèle Hozer compares it to tobacco!), and that it's never too early to adopt good lifestyle habits, it makes you wonder if it wouldn't simply be better to banish it completely from our cottage! That said, one of the characteristics of the sugar bug is that it reacts quite badly to refusals!
A pain so sweet
We now know: added sugar is not good for your he alth. In addition to being one of the main causes of obesity, refined sugar is also most likely responsible for type 2 diabetes. we find on thetobacco products. Recently, the Heart and Stroke Foundation released a statement on the consumption of sugars: a first in Canada!
Since then, it has been ruled that one should consume no more than 10% of one's total energy (in calories) in sugars – and even one should aim for less than 5%. Casually, this 10% is reached extremely quickly, since we find added sugar in most modified foods these days. For example, if you offer your child sugary cereal (or jam toast) with a glass of orange juice for breakfast, a store-bought cereal bar as a snack, and two cream cookies or chocolate for dessert, at dinner, you have already exceeded the recommended amount. So imagine if you add a soft drink or candy to all this!
In March 2014, WHO advised limiting sugar intake by children to three teaspoons (12.5 grams) per day. In addition, the very friendly Pharmacist offers an informative text on our attitude towards sugarand its effects on children. We recommend you to read it!
So is it better to just ban sweets altogether? No: as we know, what is prohibited is much more tempting and, in doing so, you are not teaching your child how to drink responsibly. It is therefore preferable to formulate clear rules, and to supervise the consumption ofsugarof all family members. Here are some strategies that could help you.
- Determine the amount and time for sweets: Indeed, sweets and other sweets are foods that should be eaten sparingly. Why not pair the treats with special events: Christmas, Valentine's Day, a friend's party, a special movie night and, of course, Halloween.
- Have clear instructions: before entering a place where there will be a lot of temptation, express your expectations right away, before the carnage! For example, if they are allowed to eat sweets, tell them a specific amount.
- Be empathetic: Your refusal could lead to a crisis, and if so, be empathetic. For example, console your child by telling him that you understand, but that's enough, and that he can eat it on your next special outing.
- Ignore the crisis: respect the rules you have established, it is important. The longer it goes, the less likely your child will be to have tantrums. The less importance you give to his crises, the less he will do and they won't last as long.
- Congratulate him: the crisis is over and he managed to listen to you? Congratulate him! He tries hard, you know it's not easy, and you're very proud of him!
- Empower the child: as he progresses,show him that you trust him. For example, until the age of five, we ourselves managed the bag of candy that our son collected on Halloween. Since he was six years old, he has been able to keep it himself in his room and he makes excellent use of it!
How to reduce the amount of sugar in our diet?
- Preparing meals with fresh staples: do you like cake? Great! But do it yourself, with fresh ingredients.
- Cooking and improving cooking skills;
- Reduce your consumption of ready-to-eat foods: they often contain a lot of sugar and trans fats – not to mention the chemical ingredients!
- Choose low sugar breakfast cereals: those that are covered in sugar often do not have very good nutritional value…
- Reduce the amount of sugar in meals prepared at home; and we replace refined sugar as much as possible with fruit compotes (dates, figs, apples) or, at least, natural sugars (honey, maple syrup).
- Avoid sugary drinks like soft drinks, which have NO nutritional value, sports drinks, fruit drinks;
- Choose fresh fruit instead of juice. Inviting your children to choose the fruits and vegetables they want to eat at the grocery store can be a great way to encourage them!
In short, apart from providing energy, sugar has no other nutritional benefit. In addition, it should be noted that many studies have associated the effects of excessive sugar consumption with several he alth problems, which also affect children. In short, everyone has an interest in reducing the amount of added sugars in their diet. You have to find the balance and, if it helps, we remember that it is Charlie, the humble, kind and not spoiled child, who inherits the chocolate factory at the end of the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!