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How to tame the sugar beast?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I am looking for some hints/experience/advice on how to start down the path of not letting the sugar beast take over my daughter.

We have 2 little lovelies. My DS just turned 7 and self-regulates very well. He knows that he's not allowed treats unless he's filled his belly with good stuff first. He will at least try just about anything and I can trust him to eat whatever I put in front of him for dinner. There are very, very few good foods that he won't eat at all. He loves treats/candy/etc. (like any red-blooded kid does....), but it's not overboard. He's been known to save a cookie for later.

My DD is 16 months old. She is a sugar fiend!! She had her first candy last night on Halloween. Holy cow. She had 3 pieces down her gullet in record time.....with nary a speck of chocolate wasted on her face or fingers. She's had other sugar before this - cake on her birthday, ice cream during the summer, etc. She LOVES sugar and will tear your fingers off to get it.
On the flip side, she's also a very good eater. She will eat just about anything and has eaten every veggie we've ever given to her. She's not crazy about beans or hummus....but I'm working on that. She's learning what her brother already knows - no treats until you've filled your belly with good food. She sometimes gets upset when she sees Alex eating ice cream and she can't have any because she ate 2 peas for dinner and threw the rest of her dinner on the floor for the dog to eat....but that's part of the learning!

So....how do I keep this sugar monster under control? Keep teaching her about good nutrition and hope she can self-regulate well, like her brother? They're such different personalities, I don't want to assume that she'll do anything her brother does. When I was growing up, my mom kept me away from sugar like crazy! I rarely got candy or anything sweet and when I got any money or any access, I gorged myself. I was in my 20's before I could tame it. I don't want to saddle my tiny girl with such issues, so I'm looking for advice now.

post #2 of 5

We have the same situation with our kids here, and follow the same guidelines about eating good foods before treats.
Our kids ask us all the time if ___ food helps them grow. This started when a friend at preschool told ds that oreos are junk food, I told him she was right because they don't help you grow. They like to hear that the apples, veggies, meat, etc helps them grow and wonder why the candies don't.

I don't know how to encourage the self-regulating, I don't have that under control myself!
post #3 of 5
dont have much to say, except dont use food, sugar, treats, etc as a reward. We have discussed this to a deep extent in my fam, and have talked to people who have gotten candy for being "good" at the grocery store, for babysitter, etc. We never got this, we did get candy, soda pop, etc, but it was more like with friday night pizza, or as a surprize than a reward. Also, we didnt get dessert based on if we ate all of our dinner (again, like a reward) we get it because we'd eaten enough to ofset the "damage" of the sweets. Not that a 16 mo can understand this really, but I would guess just wording and explaining. I think MOST kids crave sugar, me sibs and I all did, but none of us grew up overweight because of it, although I can relate to the sugar binging you described, but I feel that was more emotional than just drive for sugar.
People will probly disagree with this, but I would make things like desserts scheduled, like on saturday nights we get icecream, than "if you finish dinner you can have a cookie!" type of approach. Not that I think you are doing this, but just as an example.
I too, am nervous about this time as ds is 8 mos and within the yr Im sure we will be dealing with it too. For being such a fussy baby, I will do whatever it takes to make him happy and keep him happy, and can totally see myself becoming a briber, which I loath.
Anyway, good luck!!!
post #4 of 5
You can try this book: Little Sugar Addicts: End the Mood Swings, Meltdowns, Tantrums, and Low Self-Esteem in Your Child Today. I believe that there is a quiz you can take on the "look inside" pages, though your daughter may be a bit young for some of the questions. Full disclosure: I have this book and haven't read too much of it; I'm pretty sure my son is a sugar addict. I have read the adult version (Potatoes Not Prozac: Solutions for Sugar Sensitivity) and let's just say I have not been successful at implementing all the principles in the book.

ETA: I will say that if you want more general feeding/eating tips to help your DD you might want to try a book by Ellyn Satter such as Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense. We have used her princples successfully to get our son to self-regulate his eating much better than he had been previously. Her website has good info too.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Mommaklo - you have some good advice. We currently don't (and haven't) use food as a reward for being good.....or doing well on a test.....or doing your chores. However....we do have the rule that you can't have dessert unless you finish your dinner (or at least the important parts. You have to at least finish the protien and the veg).....which is a kind of reward. Our theory is that we don't want you to be hungry when you have the sugar....and if you're too full to finish your broccoli, you're too full for ice cream. We do have things like candy and cookies out and readily available, when they're in the house. We don't want them to be forbidden....but also not all that's available. Today, I was offering chocolate bunny grahams along with apple slices. I will have another look at HOW and WHY we're offering treats and see if we can tweak it.

JElaineB - I'm definitely going to check out those books! Sounds like lots of good info.
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