The Less-Sugar Solution for Kids (HPC: E72)

Are you fed up yet with all the sugar your kids are served outside your house (or even inside)?

This is a great time of year to step back and consider the impact of sugar, learn where it’s hiding, and begin to implement some “less sugar” palate weaning tips for your kids….before Valentine’s Day hits. :/

Today we’ll talk about mindfulness, boundaries, agency, and “why” plus practical ways to train the palate to appreciate less-sweet foods.

No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!

Less-Sugar Solution Video Time Stamps

  • 0:40: After the “sugar-fest” of holidays we’ve just had I want to talk about cutting back on the sugar. It’s not about cutting out all sugar. It’s about training our palates to appreciate less sweet tastes to avoid excess sugar in our diets.

The habits formed in childhood are the roots of the root causes of disease later in life. -Katie Kimball

  • 2:06: You probably fall into one of three camps: your kids overindulged on sugar over the holidays and you need to get back on track, you did a good job striking a balance of healthy food and fun food, or you haven’t really paid attention to your family’s sugar intake.

Why is sugar so bad for you?

  • 3:25: I’m going to talk about four reasons to avoid sugar. First, bad bacteria feed off sugar. When we have any sickness in the house we avoid sugar even more than usual. We want to feed our good bacteria a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables. The Human Microbiome Project recommends 25 different plants (grains and nuts count) a week!
  • 4:37: Sugar increases your blood glucose levels. If we’re training our body that spikes and crashes of blood sugar are normal it can really impact your health negatively over time. Blood sugar crashes affect kids’ mood and behaviors.

Too much sugar in childhood is laying the foundation for problems you don’t want your kids to have. -Katie Kimball

  • 6:18: Sugar is correlated to many types of cancers.
  • 6:29: Many sources say sugar is addictive. You get a small dopamine hit when you have sugar which makes your body want more.

How much sugar is too much?

  • 7:27: When you’re reading an ingredient label sugar can be “hidden” under several different names. Anything containing the words “juice” or “syrup” and anything ending in “-ose” are forms of sugar. It can be alarming to read labels and see 3-5 different types of sugar in one product.
  • 8:07: Honey and maple syrup are slightly better, but they’re still sugar.
  • 8:26: You might be surprised where sugar hides. How much sugar do you think is in a typical spaghetti dinner? 😮
  • 8:36: The American Heart Association recommends that children don’t have more than 25 grams of sugar in a day. That’s 6 teaspoons. When you add up all the hidden sugars in foods we don’t even consider sweet, it’s alarming!

FREE: Reading Nutrition Labels Worksheet

  • 9:27: Before you consider switching to artificial sweeteners let’s talk about that! There are several reasons why I don’t recommend anyone consume artificial sweeteners.
  • 12:35: More and more artificial sweeteners are sneaking into kid food and foods that aren’t marketing as zero-calorie so you wouldn’t even know to check for it.

Kids are constantly consuming artificial sweeteners. They’re all guinea pigs in this grand experiment to find out what happens after 50 years of exposure.  -Katie Kimball

  • 13:19: If you don’t make any other changes after listening to this, please do this one thing. Just start reading labels and see where sugar is hiding in your diets.

Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Choices

  • 13:57: If you suddenly told your kids you were going to ditch all sugar at home, it would probably not go well at first. It’s important for kids to understand “why?” and have time to adjust.

In order to make changes in our habits, we need to believe in it and it can take some time for the new ideas to sink in. -Katie Kimball

  • 14:43: We can help our kids own their own health and make these changes for themselves. A great way to raise a binge eater is to restrict a food entirely. When there’s a food you believe needs to be restricted, you can educate your child and help them understand why you’re making the choice to restrict instead of creating a forbidden fruit situation.
  • 15:39: I talk about a practical way you can talk about food at the table to educate your children. Slow down and notice things about your food.

We can guide kids to be more mindful, particularly when it comes to sweets. -Katie Kimball

  • 16:29: We savor our dessert. It’s only fun in your mouth. If you’re going to have something that isn’t great for your body, make sure you enjoy it.
  • 17:30: I believe in giving kids agency within boundaries. This means we need to let them have choices while still guarding them as we teach them. I give an example of how our family has chosen to allow agency and set boundaries around dessert.
  • 18:43: As kids get older and we give them more agency, we can continue to ask questions and keep an open dialogue about food and how it makes them feel.

Our kids need to understand why we eat a certain way. -Katie Kimball

  • 20:08: Dr. Sears says there’s “fun foods” and “growing foods” and that’s been the framework I’ve taught for years, but I’ve recently been challenged on it by some parents in our Kids Cook Real Food course.
  • 20:44: Considering the type of fuel a food provides your body may be a better framework. Sugar is a quick fuel that goes through your body and can leave you feeling pretty bad. Protein, fats, fiber and complex carbohydrates all fuel your body differently.
  • 21:59: It’s important to allow kids to fail and see what happens when they overdo it. I have one kid who threw up the morning after Halloween. They’ll never forget those lessons.
  • 22:39: Your one action step from this section is to commit to talking about food at your dinner table.

Practical Strategies to Reduce Sugar

  • 23:20: If you’re ready to wean your kids off sugar a bit I have some strategies for you. Making your own food means you can control the amount of sweetness. You can gradually decrease the amount of sugar in a recipe as your tastes adjust. You can also choose to use maple syrup or honey instead of eating processed foods containing dextrose or high fructose corn syrup.
  • 24:48: There are also some sweet mimicking foods like cinnamon, vanilla, coconut oil, and caramelized onions. You can add these to add a sense of sweetness while cutting down on the sugar in a recipe.
  • 26:20: Serving vegetables at the beginning of the meal will make them most appealing. There’s a natural sweetness to many vegetables that we can’t even discern due to eating over-sweetened foods.  When we’re adapted to eating less sweet foods, other foods taste better.

Food tastes the best when you're hungriest. -Katie Kimball

  • 28:41: If you have older kids who are on board you can try a complete 3-7 day sugar detox to jumpstart your palate adjustment.
  • 29:17: Choose one food that you eat regularly and make one change. Uplevel the sweetener, find a pre-made product that has less added sugar or make it from scratch.

A raisin with fiber will always be better than the same amount of pure white sugar. -Katie Kimball

  • 30:58: I eat sugar. I’m don’t have a perfect diet. But…I’m taking conscious steps to reduce my sugar consumption. I encourage you to start making some baby-step changes to consume less sugar this year.

Resources We Mention on Reducing Sugar

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