If you feel like your kiddo is obsessed with sweets I want you to know that you aren't alone! I get SO MANY questions from parents about this! So if you are looking to try something new, lean in! What if instead of limiting and restricting sweets, what if we actually offered them MORE OFTEN. Does this sound crazy or what?
Why you ask? It's a strategy called "habituation" and it means the more we allow access, the less physiological and emotional response the individual will have to that food. This translates to sweets being less interesting because they are no longer the “forbidden fruit”.
So here are 5 strategies to help you decrease the sugar obsession for your kids!
Add a child-size portion of dessert daily to a meal (and have no strings attached to get it (e.g. no need to eat “2 more bites” or need finish all of their broccoli)
Randomly add sweets to the lunchbox or snack time and make them “high value” such as cookies, mini cupcakes, or even a few pieces of candy. Using the foods they are most obsessed with works well here
Occasionally allow UNLIMITED access. This works especially well for an afternoon snack on the weekends. You basically will put out a large amount of sweets all at once (e.g. a whole plate of cookies with some milk & fruit) and let them GO FOR IT. The first few times you do this you may notice your kiddo eating to the point of feeling unwell. That is ok! Learning from their own natural response to overeating is a very powerful (and memorable) lesson.
Try to avoid the 'hype' around sweets by not using them for a reward after a soccer game or with good behaviour. This promotes sweets as something to be “earned” and further puts them on a pedestal
Neutralize your language: as much as possible try to call foods by their name e.g. Lollipop, cake, cookies instead of “treats” or “sometimes” foods or even “fun foods” which can give them more emotional charge.
So give these a try and let me know how it goes! For many of my clients, leaning into sweets and helping kids feel calm about them will improve their overall relationship with food and their bodies. Do you need more support with your kids? Book a pediatric appointment with me today
This post was sponsored by The Canadian Sugar Institute https://sugar.ca/