Parents, Children, and Sugar

Over at the Blogging Baby weblog there is an interesting discussion going on now about kids and sugar.

One of the consistent themes in Dr. Fuhrman's work--for children and adults alike--is that it is smart to avoid refined sugars. The diet he recommends is rich in nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables--and does not include any refined sugars at all. However, as a parent of four, Dr. Fuhrman understands the challenges of parenting at birthday parties, county fairs, and other junk-food-centric occasions. In his new book Disease-Proof Your Child, this is what he recommmends:

As your child gets older, birthday cake and other unhealthy foods might be offered on occasion. If no fuss is made and nothing discussed, three things might occur: the child might have a few bites and nothing more, she might eat the whole piece, or she might not even like the sweet or artificial taste.

My daughter Cara found birthday cake distasteful. We always fed our children a good meal of their favorite foods before they left the house prior to birthday parties or other events to make sure they were not hungry when exposed to this kind of food. By the time they were older and faced with parents distributing soda and doughnuts at soccer games, they were already knowledgeable enough to say no thank you on their own. They knew the health consequences of such eating habits.

If your children choose to eat junk food on occasion, let it go. Try not to make them feel bad about it. You will know how healthfully they eat when they are home, which should be more than 90 percent of their intake. Control what is done in the home and make sure that 90 percent of the time the family is eating at home. The best approach is to control what you can control and don't try to control what you can't.

The goal is for your children to eat healthfully because they want to, and do so whether their parents are around or not.

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Jen - September 8, 2005 12:59 PM

As the author and mother who admitted on Blogging Baby to letting her kids have sugar, I should say that even though they are allowed to eat foods with sugar, there are fruits readily available to them on our dining room table at all times, no soda pop in the house, and they get served a healthy variety of proteins, vegetables and grains at their meals. A balance is important of course-- and my post was meant to address my experiences meeting parents who ban sugar altogether. It's a lifestyle choice-- simply one I haven't made. Thanks for reading!

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