5 tips to help teach your kids to eat treats mindfully and in moderation
What kid doesn’t like a treat? I’m fairly confident that there is a “loves chocolate”
With Easter right around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m going to manage the chocolate and treats this year with my
* FYI: treats/desserts with any added sugar aren’t recommended until after 24 months of age—tummies are too small and nutrient needs too big to offer added sugar to babies and young toddlers.
Here are 5 Steps to raising kids who eat sweets mindfully and in moderation:
1) Offer treats of your choosing regularly:
If your kids are exposed to sweets and goodies consistently (in moderation), they will be calm around them, and less likely to binge on occasions where treats are plentiful (like at holidays and birthday parties). Kids will still love them, and at times, over-indulge (like we all do), but they won’t feel an urgency to “get them in NOW”, because they know that there will be more opportunities to eat them soon enough.
2) Try not to over-hype treat food:
When you stay calm and matter-of-fact when serving and talking about treat foods, it puts them on a level playing field with other
3) Offer treats in portions that fit your family:
When it comes to treats, there’s no hard and fast rule about how often or how much — this is family-dependant. We serve desserts at various times; sometimes with or after a meal, and sometimes as a snack. We don’t give much
What I personally suggest is making sure that nutrient-dense, whole foods fill precious tummy space first and foremost, and to serve treat portions that feel right to you. Ellyn Satter, childhood feeding expert and the mastermind behind the “Division of Responsibility in Feeding”, suggests serving treats once a week with no limitations on how much kids eat. For example, setting out a plateful of cookies as a snack (along with some fruit and milk, let’s say), and letting kids eat until they’re satisfied, as long as they stay at the table without any distractions, like screens or toys. This strategy will help them learn about self-regulation when it comes to dessert foods. Again: I suggest waiting until your child is over 24 months before serving treats with added sugar.
4) Keep calm and relaxed about treats:
If you find that your child is being sneaky about foods, don’t react in a negative way. Remain calm and curious, asking (without
5) Don’t always skip dessert yourself, enjoy treats mindfully:
When your kids see that you also enjoy birthday cake and homemade cookies now and then (without sneaking around, over-indulging or making a big deal out of it), they too will see this as normal and model after you. I encourage everyone to be “picky” when it comes to desserts and sweets–choose to indulge in treats that you absolutely love and leave the ones that are just “ok”. Make sure that you’re filling up on nutritious, whole foods most of the time, and treats are just a small part of your already satisfying and nutrient-dense diet.
Written by Sarah Remmer, Original Version on sarahremmer.com