So frustrated with 8.5yo ds and sugar - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-28-2010, 03:50 PM
 
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I know I go against what alot of MDC believes, but I don't think sugar is a bad thing.

Think about breastmilk, which most of us feed our babies. It's ridiculously sweet. That means that kids develop a taste for sweet stuff from the very beginning. So why is it a surprise when kids still want sweet things?
Cause and effect doesn't work that way. Breastmilk is sweet so that babies will want it.

Trust me, if you're craving sugar, breastmilk doesn't work (it was obvious from a tiny taste). It's lactose not sucrose.
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Old 03-28-2010, 04:32 PM
 
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I think you're getting into a power struggle with your kid over sugar. Its driving you crazy. IMO its not worth it. Its just sugar.

Does anyone remember the episode where one of the Cosby kids was caught smoking? And so Dr. Cosby said, fine you want to smoke? Lets sit down, you can smoke. And the parents sat there and made the girl smoke a cigarette, then offered another one (i think this is how the episode went)...she about died from embarrassment and because smoking wasnt the experience she had imagined it to be.

I think part of the reason your son is sooo obsessed is because he knows he cant have it.

I'd let him have as much as he wanted. Yeah, he'll probably eat til he is sick. Maybe even a couple of times. But i think its VERY likely eventually it will start being gross to him.

We never had the concept of "dessert" and "treats" in my family....if we went to a restaurant and my son wanted cake first, he got it. If we went to the store and he wanted candy, he got it. There is something about always knowing you CAN have something that helps you choose to NOT have it. I cant tell you how many times i would say "want a candy bar?" in the check out line and he'd say "hmmm....no thanks." One time when he was about 7, he decided he wanted the feeling of having ALOT of candy, so much candy it would never run out. So we went and got a whole backpack full of mini candy bars of all varieties. Several months later, i ended up throwing most of it away, he didnt come close to eating it all.

In adoption circles, its very common for kids to come with food issues like hoarding and overeating. One suggestion was to have a little box or drawer in the child's room that is JUST their food, they know it will always be there and how much or how little they eat is totally up to them without judgement from the parent.

The fact that your son was wistful about a new school having a cafeteria so he could "sneak" and get food that you wouldnt allow him to have....thats kind of sad to me and suggests there are some deeper issues of control here.

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Old 03-28-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Cause and effect doesn't work that way. Breastmilk is sweet so that babies will want it.

Trust me, if you're craving sugar, breastmilk doesn't work (it was obvious from a tiny taste). It's lactose not sucrose.
I think the point she was trying to make is that it is *natural* that a human would prefer something sweet tasting...that we are designed that way from birth. That the reason kids are drawn to sugar is that is IS sweet. Not that breastmilk would satisfy an older child's desire for sugar.

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Old 03-28-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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I think you're getting into a power struggle with your kid over sugar. Its driving you crazy. IMO its not worth it. Its just sugar.
I gotta agree with this. I mean, I know the evilness of sugar, and how taxing it is on the body and immune system, yadayada, but I don't strictly regulate or control how much of it my children intake. I don't buy a bunch of sugary treats at the grocery store (b/c we are into whole foods/TF's to an extent, so we just don't buy a lot of overly-processed stuff anyhow). I don't have the same issue, though, b/c I can and do buy raw cane sugar - and my kids don't sneak it, so I come from a different place. And they love things like vegetables and meat - so I know their overall diet is rounded.

But, I don't even count up in my head how much sugar they have contained in any given day/week. If we are on vacation, they can order sprite, have cookies, etc., and I don't limit the amount. Same with b-day parties, or whenever the opportunity presents itself. I can see how saying one sweet thing a day, or X amount per week - and letting the kids control it - works for some families; it's just not that big of a deal to me, I guess. I know they eat well, otherwise, so the added sugar isn't that big of a deal to me.

I do recall, clearly, how my mom was super strict about sugar and healthy eating -- when we were at friend's houses, or the babysitter's, or wherever, we would gorge on junk food. It was definitely a forbidden fruit thing, for us. My mom relaxed a bit as we got older - and you know what? I eat pretty healthy now as an adult and would choose grape nuts over an icky sugary cereal any day (not that I eat cereal, but just an example).

In your situation, I would personally probably just take away some of the power struggle. Either decide on a comfortable amount of sugary items, and let your DS decide when and where he consumes them - or just let it go when he gorges on bigger amounts when it's available (ie Halloween candy, or the whole bag of the sweet bun things). If it's not an all day every day thing, I don't see how it will be that detrimental to his health - and if he sees the control is in his hands, maybe he'll be more likely to eat the vegetables than just the chips out of his lunch bag (though, I agree with not sending so many choices, if it's a sandwich, fruit, and veggie - he's more likely to eat more of those than toss them).

Best of luck figuring it out. I have a feeling that however you approach it, it's just a phase.

(oh, this reminds me, as it's kinda related - there was a 6 yo boy at my DS's birthday party yesterday who said no, thank you to root beer floats, cake and ice cream, and then later when I asked if he wanted a bag to collect some candy from the pinata he said to me, "no, thanks. I'm not really allowed to eat any sugar." Which, I thought was kinda cool that he stuck with it even w/o his mom there... but I have to admit feeling a little tiny bit bad for him, even though he seemed perfectly content with it - so I'm sure it was just in my head. Maybe it's just my kids, but if I told them they weren't allowed candy, I'm betting they would accept it when not in my presence. but I guess, for whatever reason, it works for this kid to completely avoid it.)

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Old 03-28-2010, 05:06 PM
 
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I'd let him have as much as he wanted. Yeah, he'll probably eat til he is sick. Maybe even a couple of times. But i think its VERY likely eventually it will start being gross to him.

We never had the concept of "dessert" and "treats" in my family....if we went to a restaurant and my son wanted cake first, he got it. If we went to the store and he wanted candy, he got it. There is something about always knowing you CAN have something that helps you choose to NOT have it. I cant tell you how many times i would say "want a candy bar?" in the check out line and he'd say "hmmm....no thanks." One time when he was about 7, he decided he wanted the feeling of having ALOT of candy, so much candy it would never run out. So we went and got a whole backpack full of mini candy bars of all varieties. Several months later, i ended up throwing most of it away, he didnt come close to eating it all.
I have to say, I think this is a personality thing. As a kid I would have plowed through that backpack full of candy as fast as I could without getting sick. As an adult, if there's candy in the house I will eat it until it's gone, especially if it's super-sweet like jelly beans or candy corn. (which I no longer allow in the house, not for the kids, for ME. they don't care.) I think some people just have a real sweet tooth and there is something about sugar that makes you want more more more.
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Old 03-28-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I have to say, I think this is a personality thing. As a kid I would have plowed through that backpack full of candy as fast as I could without getting sick. As an adult, if there's candy in the house I will eat it until it's gone, especially if it's super-sweet like jelly beans or candy corn. (which I no longer allow in the house, not for the kids, for ME. they don't care.) I think some people just have a real sweet tooth and there is something about sugar that makes you want more more more.
Did you have unlimited access to any type of food as a child? Could you eat as much sweets as you wanted?

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Old 03-28-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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Even as a 4-5yo, he would steal sugar out of the baking cupboard.
Maybe i'm reading too much into it....but i thought this was interesting phrasing. There is nothing in our kitchen my children could "steal"...if they want sugar, they either get it or ask for it (if too young to have free reign in the cabinets)...im just getting a big sense of "sneakiness" out of this...the son has to sneak to get sweets because he knows or feels he wont be given the sweets he wants. That would bother me alot more than the actual consumption of sugar.

I remember reading a story once of a woman who decided to tackle her food issues head on, and a part of it was packing her kitchen FULL of food that she previously would forbid herself (then obsess about it and then go on an eating binge)...she knew it would always be there, so she didnt have to go overboard. I realize this may not work for everyone and i understand choosing to keep stuff out of the house. But i do think there is something to it. I tend to obsess about food, and yet there is like three dozen cookies sitting in the kitchen right now that i made last night. Did i eat a bunch yesterday? Yes i did...but less today because really, the tenth cookie doesnt taste nearly as good as the first one.

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Old 03-28-2010, 06:38 PM
 
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I think you may be sending mixed and confusing messages to him.

I know you have no desire to control your sweet intake, but I'm going to hand you three buns and expect you to only eat one.

I don't want you to have sugar, but here's a hot chocolate (7up, dessert)
Yup. This really struck me about your post.

You seem to want to give him a lot of freedom and to be unwilling to set limits for him - while expecting him to do this himself. That is your job, as the parent, not his.

I understand that you don't want to establish rules (although I don't understand why - and that's another issue entirely) but I think you are right that you are going to have to. Zero sugar is unrealistic, but eliminating treats when out and about is not, nor is limiting dessert to one night per week or cutting out soda no matter where you are.

You son, like most kids, obviously isn't capable of setting limits with sugar and junk food, so it's up to you to do so.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post
Cause and effect doesn't work that way. Breastmilk is sweet so that babies will want it.

Trust me, if you're craving sugar, breastmilk doesn't work (it was obvious from a tiny taste). It's lactose not sucrose.
Actually, breastmilk is sweet for good brain growth. Just like cow milk is full of protein to grow big cows quickly, and seal milk is almost pure fat so that baby seals don't freeze to death, human milk is very sweet to grow big complex brains.

My point is that it's not surprising that kids want sweet things. Especially if they are breastfed for along time, their body is used to sweet frequent meals/snacks. I don't think it's surprising that older kids want to continue that.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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The hot chocolate after swim practice is simply to warm up, and they sell it right there at the pool for that reason. I don't stop at Starbucks on the way home to get it.
You could bring a thermos of hot herbal or fruit tea for him to warm up with, instead of buying the hot chocolate.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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You could bring a thermos of hot herbal or fruit tea for him to warm up with, instead of buying the hot chocolate.
My parents always picked me up outside the pool doors. Some of the other kids got the hot chocolate, the rest of us hurried for the warm showers to warm up.

(I live in Canada where my hair would freeze into "ice dreads" while I waited outside in the winter for my parents to pick me up.)
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Old 03-28-2010, 11:29 PM
 
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I agree that this sounds like a control issue. I have a monster sweet tooth as does my 5 y/o. If my DH had his way, our kids would never have any sugar at all. But I like to bake, like sweets, etc so we have them in moderation.

My DS is a sugar binger and would eat candy all day long if I let him. I used to think that my DH's attitude of scarcity contributed to that--he is big on rationing, doesn't approve of candy for instance--but reading this thread, I now think self-regulation may be just personality. My DH can take or leave sweets, I'll eat them until I'm sick. And FWIW my mom also has a big sweet tooth and we always had plenty of treats around the house (in addition to healthy food) so for me it wasn't about control, Ive always just liked to eat sweets.
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Old 03-29-2010, 12:19 AM
 
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Two things that came to mind:

-Up his good fats. A lot of people on the TF forum find it helps with their sugar cravings.
-Isn't excessive lusting after sugar sometime symptomatic of a candida issue? Could you try giving him probiotics?

It does sound like it's a behavior/personality thing as much as a medical one, but it might be worth looking into.

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Old 03-29-2010, 12:26 AM
 
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Oceanbaby, how about letting him buy treats with an allowance? I'm just thinking that might help differentiate between between what's a power struggle, how much he really wants something, etc. And it might make you feel like you aren't setting arbitrary rules that change from situation to situation...

Anyway, my ds was always one to go for the sugar, too. I feel like he is finally less interested in candy. Only took 4 years, lol. I try to balance having no limits with being a little proactive (feeding him something with a lower glycemic index before he gets desperately hungry and wants sweets). If he goes for sweets, I follow up with something more substantial. I give him some guidance, naming what he has eaten so far and what food groups are still lacking for the day when he is asking what there is to eat. I read the labels, talk about serving sizes, etc. He now has it in his head that he "gets" one chocolate bar a day. But he doesn't ask for one every day. I'm fine with him eating chocolate but I want to make sure he eats more fibrous foods in between.

On one level, I'd rather ds eat straight sugar than other sweet things that may have HFCS, trans fats, food coloring, preservatives, etc. Fortunately he doesn't like some things, like soda. But I keep in mind, if a soda is OK, why isn't 10 spoons of sugar? With the straight sugar, I eventually started telling ds he could have some if I got it out to bake something but otherwise I wanted it left in the cupboard so we had it when I needed it for a recipe. But this was after giving him sugar when he asked for it for a long time, otherwise I'm sure that wouldn't have worked so easily. Once in a great while he'll get some (Yay, independence, lol) but nothing like when he was younger. I actually think part of it is he is growing out of a high sleep need. I do notice a pattern of his wanting sweets when he is tired.

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Old 03-29-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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I think you're getting into a power struggle with your kid over sugar. Its driving you crazy. IMO its not worth it. Its just sugar.

I think part of the reason your son is sooo obsessed is because he knows he cant have it.

I'd let him have as much as he wanted. Yeah, he'll probably eat til he is sick. Maybe even a couple of times. But i think its VERY likely eventually it will start being gross to him.
This may work for some kids, but not all. I'm the type of person who to this day (I know, I know) will still eat so much sugar I feel sick. Then do it again later. And repeat. I'm such a sugar junkie. I can east sugar moderately 90% of the time, but then I sugar binge. So it may be worth a shot for the OP, but it's not sure thing that her kid will get sick and never do it again. If people got sick and never did something again college kids wouldn't be drinking every weekend.

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Old 03-29-2010, 03:15 AM
 
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I'd let him have as much as he wanted. Yeah, he'll probably eat til he is sick. Maybe even a couple of times. But i think its VERY likely eventually it will start being gross to him.
I'm another one who will say it depends on the person. I was allowed free reign of food growing up. Healthy meals were cooked and offered but I could also have whatever sugary treats or snacks I wanted.

And I did. I would eat myself sick on something sugary and do it again the next day or even hours later once the sick feeling wore off. I'm talking, soda after soda with a pound of M&Ms or a whole package of cookies..etc.


To this day I still LOVE sugar and sweet treats and if I could happily eat myself sick on them day after day if I allowed it.

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Old 03-29-2010, 03:24 PM
 
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I think the point she was trying to make is that it is *natural* that a human would prefer something sweet tasting...that we are designed that way from birth. That the reason kids are drawn to sugar is that is IS sweet. Not that breastmilk would satisfy an older child's desire for sugar.
No, she seems to be saying that the desire for sweet things comes from being fed sweet things like breast milk from a young age.

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Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
My point is that it's not surprising that kids want sweet things. Especially if they are breastfed for along time, their body is used to sweet frequent meals/snacks. I don't think it's surprising that older kids want to continue that.
If having been given breastmilk regularly were the cause of the sugar addiction, then breastmilk described above as "incredibly sweet" should be at least somewhat like eating a bit of sugar.
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Old 03-29-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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He sounds hungry. And even if he's eating a lot of beans, they are a starch as well as protein--so that could be leading to more cravings on his part.

It sounds like you have some specific food things (he doesn't want chicken, you don't cook red meat very often...) that are limiting all of your food intake. Have you thought about seeing a nutritionist so that you can figure out what the optimal way of eating is for your whole family and then work toward that?

I'd focus more on what he needs to eat to be healthy--than what he can't have. Maybe work with him to figure out what kind of foods make him feel satisfied (again, the comment about what he would get to eat in school indicates to me that he's hungry or perhaps just unsatisfied with his diet) Especially since in the big picture--you don't seem to have a problem with sugar. You seem ok with it in moderation, you buy it for yourself, etc...so why demonize it for him?

I'm not crazy about sweets, all the chocolate holidays (Vday, easter, etc) frustrate me. DD woke up the other morning and the first thing she said, laying in her bed, was "Can I have girl scouts (cookies) today?" so I know where you are coming from. DD also acts like a tantrum-y nut if she gets too much sugar, but she is only 4. I just try to keep a handle on what's gone in all day--if she's been subsisting on sugar all day I know I've made mistakes. If I know she had a good proteiny breakfast and lunch, she can probably handle the "girl scouts" after pre-k.

Good luck!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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This may work for some kids, but not all. I'm the type of person who to this day (I know, I know) will still eat so much sugar I feel sick. Then do it again later. And repeat. I'm such a sugar junkie. I can east sugar moderately 90% of the time, but then I sugar binge. So it may be worth a shot for the OP, but it's not sure thing that her kid will get sick and never do it again. If people got sick and never did something again college kids wouldn't be drinking every weekend.
There are also those of us who just don't get sick. I can remember practicing counting by 5s with my candy wrappers as a kid. I can remember eating a half pound box of chocolates in about two hours (they were given to me at lunch break at work, and they were gone long before quitting time). I've done lots of other equally stupid things with sugar, and I've never been sick. I've felt vaguely queasy a few times. I've had headaches once or twice. I've never actually been sick.

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Old 03-29-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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There are also those of us who just don't get sick. I can remember practicing counting by 5s with my candy wrappers as a kid. I can remember eating a half pound box of chocolates in about two hours (they were given to me at lunch break at work, and they were gone long before quitting time). I've done lots of other equally stupid things with sugar, and I've never been sick. I've felt vaguely queasy a few times. I've had headaches once or twice. I've never actually been sick.
Ds and I don't get sick, either. Not from eating food and rarely even when we have a stomach bug. So ITA that you certainly can't count on that happening. But the no limits thing with some gentle guidance has worked out fine for us, regardless. There is only so much ice cream one can eat before wanting something else.

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Old 03-29-2010, 04:39 PM
 
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Your son sounds "spirited" I work with those students and think my son is going to be one that always tries to stretch limits and test boundaries. In my work I accept it expect it and actually tell students those are good questions explain why and stay calm. So for instance the no pure sugar is because of what it does to insulin levels (explained on level) since eating it out of the box or spilled on the table is the same the answer is no. But it's okay mixed in with the protein of eggs maybe pb and st else like whole grains. Just remember his thinking outside the box will be an asset soon prob is now in other areas. Also you ate dealing with it nonstop if HS.
I thought about my response more after hitting send and realized you never said he pushes boundaries in any other area so maybe this is all about the sugar. If so I'd definitely check out possible medical explanations then decide how to focus on the positives (what he needs to eat to stay healthy and be an athlete) but put a few limits in place. This is coming from a total sugar holic. I do have to say that I was so bad in my 20's nothing tasted too sweet to me so I followed a sugar/carb detox program strictly for a month then afterwards was amazed at some of the things I would eat before. I still crave sugar and eat more sweets than DH but it must be inborn because DS loved chocolate the first time he tried it at school and talked about it all the way home in the car and we've had difficulty with his language development but not when it came to talking about the treat!
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:41 PM
 
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There are also those of us who just don't get sick. I can remember practicing counting by 5s with my candy wrappers as a kid. I can remember eating a half pound box of chocolates in about two hours (they were given to me at lunch break at work, and they were gone long before quitting time). I've done lots of other equally stupid things with sugar, and I've never been sick. I've felt vaguely queasy a few times. I've had headaches once or twice. I've never actually been sick.
I have a coworker/friend like this -- once she bought one of those big (like 2-lb maybe) boxes of chocolates for the office but got stuck in traffic and ate at least 75% of it on the way in to work! We're always amazed she doesn't get sick.
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Old 03-29-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by txbikegrrl View Post
I have a coworker/friend like this -- once she bought one of those big (like 2-lb maybe) boxes of chocolates for the office but got stuck in traffic and ate at least 75% of it on the way in to work! We're always amazed she doesn't get sick.
I've always wished I did. I thought I might be less inclined to overeat on sugar so badly if it made me sick, yk?

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Old 03-29-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Dd is also a sugar junkie (takes after mama, ahem). She has very extensive food allergies, so we don't want to take away the sugar altogether--she so rarely gets to "participate" in food with her peers, and she already has so many limitations, that we want her to be able to experience some joy with her food and eat some of the things her peers eat, or allergen-free alternatives.

We simply allow one treat a day, and she gets to pick what and when. So if she wants a piece of dark chocolate after breakfast, fine--but that's it for the rest of the day. She might take a few mini allergen-free cookies in her lunch to school, or if we've baked something allergen-free over the weekend, she can have one of whatever it is when she gets home.

We make exceptions for a few special occasions. If we're visiting relatives for a holiday, and all the cousins are having ice cream for dessert, we won't say even if she's already had, say, a brownie earlier in the day. If it's another kid's birthday at school, her teachers can give her a safe alternative to whatever treat is being offered, even if she had a few cookies in her lunch (we never know ahead of time about these things, and, again, don't want her to feel more left out than she already does). And if it's her birthday, all bets are off!

This works for us. It might not work for every kid and, sure, dd protests now and again, but overall I think it keeps her sugar consumption to a reasonable level while stay letting her feel that she gets enough treats.

ETA: I definitely agree with others on packing a more balanced lunch. That's a lot of grains! Dd typically gets: a sandwich on brown rice bread (turkey and cheese, sunbutter, etc.) OR another protein/whole grain combo (leftover roast chicken and quinoa, for example), plus a veggie (avocado, carrot sticks, cucumber slices), and some fruit. Sometimes she'll get a yogurt and sometimes instead of the veggie we'll put in black beans or lima beans.
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