Parents are often anxious when it comes to children’s diets. At the same time, some of them try to feed the child at any cost, offer more and more attractive food, and, as a result, almost completely replace natural products with sweet and fast food. The other part strives to make the child’s nutrition as healthy as possible, so they establish strict controls and completely forbid children to eat sweets. But strict prohibitions and the division of food into “good” and “bad” work only as long as the adult has complete control over the child’s nutrition.
Children, deprived of sweets at home, begin to sweep away all the sweets from the children’s table at a holiday or secretly buy them with pocket money and hide them from their parents. In matters of sweet consumption, both permissiveness and a complete ban are not an option. Therefore, it is important to teach the child himself to adequately approach the choice of food, that is, to form his healthy eating behavior.
Is there a sugar rate?
The amount of sugar in the diet, according to the recommendations of the WHO (World Health Organization), should not exceed 5-10% of the total energy received. An excess of free sugars in the diet increases the risks of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, and also provokes the onset of caries in children.
- For a child 4-6 years old, the norm of sugar per day is 19 g (4 tsp),
- 7-10 years old – no more than 24 g (5 tsp),
- 10–18 years old, as well as for adults – no more than 30 g (6 tsp).
- Children under 2 years of age are advised to completely eliminate sugar from the diet.
But the main catch is that in reality, children consume twice as much sugar from foods that contain it in a latent form.
Your child may already have a sugar addiction if they:
- eats sweets in unlimited quantities in places where possible (holidays, birthdays, etc.);
- asks for sweets after every meal;
- requires sweets as a reward for actions or consolation if upset;
- doesn’t stop at one serving offered.
What to do in this case?
- First try to eliminate foods containing hidden sugar and sugary drinks (soda, juices) from your diet.
- Do not reward or punish your child with food. Often, adults themselves make an object for the manipulation of sweets. Especially do not reward your child with sweet foods for eating well. It has been found that children who are offered dessert after meals are more prone to overeating.
- Cook at home with children, including sweets. Firstly, joint activities help to improve contact with the child, and secondly, if you prepare desserts yourself, you can significantly improve their quality. Try replacing some of the flour in your recipe with whole grain and cut back on the amount of sugar several times over.
- Analyze the diet: write down what and when the child ate during the day. Children should not be allowed to snack on cookies or sweets. The child’s diet should have main meals, between which any sweet foods are excluded. Frequent snacking simply prevents hunger from forming. If your child is hungry, offer a full meal or healthy snacks.
- Fill the child’s diet with healthier foods from which he will draw energy: cereals, vegetables, fruits, fish, meat, dairy products, etc. Offer a variety of food and remember that it should bring pleasure to the child. Think if you would like to eat what you have prepared for your baby.
To organize proper nutrition, it is important not only to choose healthy foods but also to know which ones are right for your child. Such a diet can be compiled on the basis of genetic testing, which reveals the child’s individual need for nutrients, reveals his risk of latent milk and gluten intolerance, his reaction to salt and sugar, and his individual need for vitamins.
- Do not buy sweets for future use.
- Come up with joint activities. Even adults often eat out of boredom, let alone children.
- Begin to follow the established rules yourself, be an example for your child.
- Be patient – it takes time to establish any habit. Develop a positive attitude towards food so that it becomes your child’s friend, not an enemy. It is in childhood that you can lay a solid foundation for a child that will save him, an adult, from weight gain, the need for rigid diets, breakdowns, and other nutritional problems.
- And finally. Leave worry if your grandmother treats your child to candy or if he ate a little more sweet on the holidays. The main task of a parent is to form a vector of healthy eating at home, and small deviations from it are quite possible because this is precisely a healthy attitude to food.