I hate being “THAT mom”. You know, that one. Whatever “THAT mom” refers to at that particular moment.
For me, being “THAT mom” often means being the mom who is overly concerned about sweets. I am the one signing up to bring the low sugar snack like a fruit or veggie tray to the class party, so there is a healthy option.
I am the one baking a sugar-free cake for my one-year-old’s birthday party because he hasn’t had sugar yet and I see no reason to start now. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not the food police. I understand that sweets are “sometimes foods”.
Our family does choose to go out for ice cream, and my kids are allowed to make different choices when they go to a friend’s birthday party. BUT…I am concerned.
I do worry about the amount of sugar my kids consume, and the effects it has on their developing bodies.
So our family does look different than other families when it comes to sugar. Here are some low sugar snack tips that work for our family if you are looking to do the same.
1. Avoid sugary beverages
When I go grocery shopping, I do not buy juice, lemonade, soda, etc. So my kids don’t drink it. We buy water and regular milk. That’s it.
Again, we allow for treats when we’re out and about, but it’s amazing how much sugar kids consume JUST in beverages.
2. Keep fruit on hand
We don’t do a lot of desserts at our house, but fresh fruit is always available. This seems to satisfy our kids’ cravings for a little something sweet.
3. Read labels
I know, I know…this is an incredibly onerous task, and you probably feel like you don’t have time for such things.
The thing is, though, you only have to diligently read labels for a couple of weeks before you have a really solid idea of how much sugar is in various foods and beverages. You can heighten your awareness of what your kids are eating so quickly!
So leave the kids at home, grab a cup of coffee, and set out to the grocery store by yourself. Without little hands throwing things in your cart, you can learn a lot. Fast.
You might be surprised how much sugar is in “healthy” foods like cereal, yogurt, etc.
4. Pack snacks
If you have a low sugar snack packed in your bags, your kids will be less likely to ask for sugary treats when you’re out. It’s a win-win: this saves you sugar AND money!
5. Make special arrangements around holidays
For example, our kids typically want to go trick-or-treating with their friends on Halloween. We allow them to participate, but then they choose a few pieces of candy to keep and “trade in” the rest.
Our kids give us the majority of their candy (which is mostly thrown away, honestly) and choose a different treat. Typically it’s a small toy, a lunch date with mom or dad, or something along those lines.
On Easter, when our family wants to organize an egg hunt for our kids, we request that they either choose another activity or hide eggs with very little candy in them. My parents have gotten very creative with this; they put in coins, stickers, erasers, etc. You get the idea.
You will likely receive some negative feedback from others (geez, just let them be kids!) when you try to be a low sugar snack family, but you are your kiddos’ mama.
A healthy relationship with food starts at a young age, and it’s ok to say no to some things. Good luck!