I’ll never forget the internal struggle that I felt when my 18 month old completed a Mom n Tot activity and was handed a Dum Dum (sucker). ‘Do I say NO?’ ‘Will I be frowned upon for declining the offer?’ ‘Do I let Ansley take it, but then take it away from her when we get in the car?’ In a split second, I followed my gut instinct. ‘Thank you, but I see that you have stickers. Can Ansley have a sticker on her hand instead?’
Our culture today hands out sugary drinks at lil league sporting events. The bank teller has suckers readily available. There’s a sweet candy man at church. Fruit snacks are provided in Bible class. My kids are invited to a birthday party or two or three this weekend. Are you following me? Sugar is everywhere. It is no longer a ‘once in a while’ treat. It is even lurking in unsuspecting foods.
In the eyes of our culture, the decision to deny my child a sweet treat would be deemed an act of deprivation. ‘You’re too strict! It’s just a piece of candy.’ Fellow health enthusiast Mark Rogers writes, ‘Giving your kids sodas, candy, cakes and cookies on a regular basis is deprivation alright. It’s depriving them of a healthy, strong, vibrant future.’
Parents, it is time for a healthy revolution and it begins at home! Read that again. It. Begins. At. HOME. We need to re-evaluate the foods in our pantry and frig. Eliminating processed foods and sugary treats at home is a great 1st plan of action. Talk to your children about the simple changes that you are implementing and tell them why. (The average child watches up to 10,000 food commercials a year and those food commercials are not teaching the value of fruits and veggies.) Stop rewarding your children with sugary treats too. Lead by example and don’t leave any room for negotiation or argument. Your children will not starve, I promise. With your example, they will learn to live vibrant and healthy lives.
I’m curious. Do you reduce sugar consumption in your home? If so, what are your tips and strategies for doing so?