Kids and Candy
I love seeing how children approach sweets. When they are offered something sweet and they don't feel like it, they will simply refuse. It doesn't matter if it's ice cream or marshmallow. They can eat half a scoop of ice cream and leave the rest because they are already full. ( When did you last do it ?)
Sometimes, as adults, we want to prevent children from eating sweets too much and we forbid them completely, or we allow them to eat only on selected days, and even worse if only when an adult wants it (i.e. completely unpredictably for a child).
Most often, limiting something makes you want to do it even more. (The same mechanism works for adults as well). This approach will only keep your kid craving something sweet. Once he gets it, he will eat more than if it weren't so restricted because it he doesn't know when he will have the opportunity again.
Of course, the vision of completely reducing sugar and sweets is tempting, but unfortunately, we are not able to limit access to sweets anytime, anywhere. Children meet their grandparents, family, other children in kindergarten or school. We will not prevent the youngest from eating processed products and products with added sugar, but we can teach them a healthy approach to them.
How to build realthy aproach to sweets
1. An example from parents
If, as a parent, you eat a lot of candy, processed foods but vegetables and fruit are rarely seen on your plate, you can't expect your kid to listen to what you say only to have it contradicted by your actions! Children learn by imitation. How your relationship with sweets and food looks like has a greater impact than the rules you try to implement about how and when children can eat candy.
2.Your relationship with food
If you want your child to have a healthy approach to sweets and food in general, you must have it yourself. If you eat mostly when you are hungry, you don't emotionally eat, sometimes you eat something sweet in small amounts, and you view food as a pleasure and a source of energy and nutrients, your kid will most likely copy you.
3. Not making a "big deal" around sweets
Forbidding, fighting, prohibitions will only make the child fight for it all the more. The stress you give your kid will have a more negative effect on them than just a little sugar in 1 or 2 candies.
4.Do not buy a lot of sweets, do not keep sweets at home
If you fancy something sweet, you can always buy a candy bar or a small packet of cookies. By allocating the entire cabinet in your kitchen for sweets, you will eat much more of them. If you don't have sweets stocked at home if your kids want to eat something you'll have to go to buy, which a lot of times makes the craving dissapear.
5. Provide your kid (and yourself) a sweet taste
Start with the fruit. Keep them always at hand and in view. Put the bowl of fruit in the kitchen or on the table. Remember that example comes from you, if you eat fruit as a snack regularly, your child will imitate you at some point. A bowl of fruit is not meant to be just decoration.
Try making healthy sweets. You can experiment in the kitchen with recipes that use dates or ripe bananas as a source of sweet taste. If you don't have time, there are plenty of healthy snacks in stores. Date bars can be found in dozens of flavors. Power balls, apple chips, dark chocolate, dried mangoes, chocolate-covered nuts ... There is really a lot to choose from.
It is often about form. If the product looks like a bar, the child will not ask if it has sugar in it or maybe dates and inulin. It's sweet and it's a candy bar, that's enough for him. So if you only have healthy options for sweets at home, there is a small chance that your child will want something more - meaning "traditional" sweets.
Children understand more than we think. Clearly explain why we limit sugar and sweets, and what too much of them can lead to. It's best not to talk about it right in the moment when your little one is demanding something sweet.
What not to do
1.Don't make the child feel guilty or ashamed of eating something.
Even if it was something unhealthy or in large amount, the shame of eating will have a greater and longer lasting negative effect on them than the product itself.
2. Avoid making negative expressions about the kid and food, don't say:
look how much he ate,
can't you eat normally?
who ate all the chocolate again ...
3. DO NOT REWARD AND DO NOT PUNISH WITH CANDY
I know most of us are used to it
-if you eat the whole dinner you'll get a candy bar
-If you're polite, we'll go for ice cream
-if you misbehave, you won't get candy
There are many other, much better things that you can reward your child with. Binding food to punishment or reward builds a connection in a child that will stay with him for many years. And this link is the first step to eating problems or, in more severe cases, eating disorders.
4. Do not persuade them to eat sweets
If you offer your child something sweet and the child refuses to accept it, take it as the end of the conversation. Do not persuade: eat, now you can, until mom is looking ... What for?