Sweets – How Much Is Too Much

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We are locked in a battle of wills in our home…. It’s me, the sweetie Grinch against Walter & Ava, the sweetie monsters and I’m losing the battle!

How much is too much when it comes to sweets and “treat” foods? How often do your kids eat sweets?

I get they’re brightly coloured, taste delicious and filled with empty calories and ingredients designed to be highly addictive so of course everyone and most especially a 4 year old child would want to eat them ALL THE TIME. But really. Enough is enough. Literally!

The more I read and research on LCHF/banting & eating a natural diet, the more I have this sneaking suspicion that in years to come, sugar will be viewed as the tobacco of the 21st century. Just Google “World Health Org’s guidelines for sugar intake” to see the storm that is brewing. Start reading your food labels to, you’ll be shocked about the amount of added sugar that goes into almost every single every day product!

I know from my own experience, sugar is highly addictive. It makes you crave more of it, it makes you hungry, it makes you eat more and want more. Ava is not a great eater. She never has been but her sweet consumption is, I think, out of control and it is a huge concern for me.

I worry about the long term impact this will have on her health.

I worry now about her eating a diet too high in sugar and lacking in proper nutrition. Literally everything consumed in a conventional diet has sugar added.

I worry we’re not teaching her good and healthy eating habits.

I don’t want to be a sweetie Grinch but really, I feel VERY STRONGLY that these foods need to be eaten in very restricted moderation. My idea of this moderation is at birthday parties, or perhaps a play date. I don’t believe they should be freely available on a daily basis. Ava wants to eat sweets/chocolates/biscuits from the moment her eyes open! She frequently asks for Coke (it’s Coke Zero but still its full of CRAP).

She will whine, cry, throw a hissy until she gets her own way, or she’ll just help herself by climbing into the pantry cupboard. Walter and I are at logger heads on this issue. If he pops into the shops, he will, 95% of the time, bring her back a box of Smarties or jelly-beans, it makes me see red! I have two huge concerns here.

The first is obviously the unhealthy aspect, the second is I have a huge concern that we’re teaching her to develop an unhealthy association with certain foods. Sweets as a reward? NO! Sweets as a treat? NO! Maybe I’m being idealistic here, but surely these types of food shouldn’t be seen as a reward or a treat? This is exactly how I associated with sweets/chocolate/junk and look where that got me? 118kg’s at my heaviest, insulin resistant, high blood pressure and addicted to carbs and sugar. I really really really don’t want to do that to my children.

I believe sweets should not be bought with the weekly shopping. NO! They shouldn’t just be readily available for my child with a monkey tendency to climb the shelves of the pantry and help herself.

I also don’t want to be a total Grinch, but I’m losing the battle guys. The sweetie monsters are beating me. She’s also become manipulative to get her sweetie fix. She will ask me if she can have. I will, 9 times out of 10, say no. She’ll then either sneak into the pantry and help herself or she’ll go to Walter, tell him I said it’s fine, she can have sweets and convince him to get them for her.

I’ve argued with Walter on numerous occasions about buying her sweets, I’ve asked him to stop it, but I get that he doesn’t see this issue as a big a deal as I do.

I mean, am I over thinking this? Am I being unnecessarily neurotic? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? How often do you allow your kids sweets or sweet treats?

 

 

August 8, 2014
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19 Comments

  • Reply Cindy

    I think we have the same view on sweets.  I never, ever buy them.  Even for parties.  Thankfully Seth is on my side with this too.  

    HOWEVER, they spend a fairly large amount of time with my in laws who love them to death but happen to buy them too much crap.  So maybe it’s not a whole slab of chocolate everyday, but it’s those yoghurts from woolies with the sweeties on top or a little chocolate or some ice cream.  

    Because of that we have a strict no sweets at home policy.  

    Kyla and Knox are pretty controlled with sweet things (cake, chocolate etc) and will stop when they have had enough, but Riya would eat it for days without stopping.

    The whole food thing is an issue for me though.  But that’s a whole post for another time I guess 😉

    August 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole food thing… seriously… food is always an issue in our house, it’s a never ending battle. One child that would eat constantly if I let her and the other who would live on sweets if I allowed her.

      August 8, 2014 at 1:58 pm
  • Reply laurakim

    Sugar is my heroin so I do try very hard to limit it. I dont buy sweets BUT the big kids buy their own now and then and D’s mom always arrive with a treat. If the stash is too large then I do hide some and ration it out later.

    It is such a tricky one because sweets are EVERYWHERE – tuck shop, shops, parties, Drs rooms – everywhere.

    I think the key is not to introduce it at all, like with Hannah – don’t let her taste it/get addicted, then she will probably not ask for it or choose it.

    I have cut out sugar 90% now and the other day I was feeling so sick and wanted comfort food so I bought a peanut brittle – I had two blocks and felt ill. I used it eat a whole one without blinking! So the key is the detox for those already on it (but SO hard with kids) and not letting them start on it in the first place.

    August 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      The problem is Hannah has SERIOUS FOMO! If she see’s anyone eating anything her hand shoots out and she starts demanding some.

      August 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply Jenny

    I am the world’s worst when it comes to this and don’t limit a whole lot. My kids are allowed an ice-cream a day if they want but there normally isn’t sweets in the house. I generally don’t find them bingeing or going mad about it and at parties they hardly touch sweets. I think the ‘novelty’ value isn’t there for them because if there are sweets and biscuits at home, they can have them (just not before dinner). I don’t think this is good parenting and do wish I was stronger about it and just didn’t stock up on it at all ever! The plus side now though Dylan as he goes through school is being educated about food and is starting to make healthy choices of his own accord.

    August 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I think you’re doing it right. By just not buying and having it available, it becomes a non issue!

      August 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm
  • Reply cat@jugglingact

    I have followed the sister that I took the kids to as little ones’ advice. We have a sweetie tub in a high cupboard for each child – those standard party buckets. If they get sweets somewhere (or buy at tuck shop) it gets placed in there. Now and again (as in on a Saturday) they may take something out and eat it. Those sweets will never disappear – if it gets full, we throw out the ones we do not want to eat (or they swop out). I never buy but we always have – it gets like that when they get older. They have to learn to control the quantities themselves.

    Somehow this works for us – mine never stuff themselves at a party, they enjoy when they get it but there’s no whining. We also tought them to have a fruit when they feel like sweets and then think after if they still want it.

    So we are lucky I guess or there is something to this theory. Neither of my 3 pig out on sweets. L enjoy a block of chocolate with daddy often, C loves a cookie now and again and A may rather have biltong than sweets.

    I on the other hand is the house’s sugar addict. It’s my poison of choice.

    August 8, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      If Ava is with her friends, or at a party, she will pretty much ignore the sweets too.
      I just feel that we (read my husband) it buying her too many sweets and this needs to stop.I like your bucket idea with access to it once a week!

      August 8, 2014 at 2:40 pm
  • Reply Correen

    I am also very concerned about the whole “Sweets as a reward” kind of thinking. Down that road, I think, lie all sorts of problems.

    We have gone the other way on this. I don’t want my toddler to think of sweets as a reward, or to see it as something special. So we are trying to give her a LITTLE sweet after dinner, every night, irrespective of whether she finishes her dinner or not. It is not a reward, it is just a way of finishing a meal, like we adults do with coffee. It’s usually something like one piece of chocolate, we will for instance buy a Lindt Lindor slab, the little squares are all separate and she can have ONE square every night.

    I believe the damage done by sugar etc is lessened if it follows a meal consisting of protein etc. We also prefer to give her chocolate rather than other types of sweets, at least chocolate is natural with animal fats and not artificial colorants.

    I try not to give in to her whining for sweets during the day, she knows that sweetie time is after dinner, and she must wait until then to get her sweet.

    August 8, 2014 at 2:48 pm
  • Reply Toni

    I met someone who doesn’t allow any unhealthy food at all during the week, but Sundays are a complete free for all. I.e.Ice cream for breakfast if that’s what the kids want.

    I do think that the bigger deal you make of it, and the more you forbid, the more it becomes a battle and issue in your/their lives.

    I love chocolate and wouldn’t survive without it. My son gets occasionally (frequently by some standards it would seem) and in small quantities. He is so active that I think it is burnt off within minutes. I won’t give before meals or bedtime.

    August 8, 2014 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      My problem is not how fast they burn it off, as littlies, they are very active, it’s the long term effects of diets high in sugar will have on their health… diabetes…. blood pressure… heart disease. Those are the concerns for me.

      August 9, 2014 at 8:05 am
  • Reply Eleanor Douglas-Meyers

    My 15 month old son is sooo bad with eating!!! I’m at a loss, and I’m starting to think he has a sugar problem…will only eat fruit (and the occasional provita or dry oaties) even in baby food it has always had to be the one with fruit in, chicken and apples, beef and peaches, fruit counts as sugar right? maybe I need to start giving him less…soooo hard as fruit is practically the only thing he eats…. however put chocolate in a 5km radius and he can sniff it out…only chocolate (I buy dark hoping it’s a little better) otherwise NOTHING, no food not even cupcakes, he just not interested.

    August 8, 2014 at 4:39 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      I hear you Eleanor! Ava was/is the same. She has always been a fussy & poor eater & it is still a cause for concern for me!

      August 9, 2014 at 8:06 am
  • Reply Pandora

    My child is like Hannah, always looking for food. She eats pretty much anything. She obviously would prefer junk food but if I say no she will ask for a ‘healthy thing’ as she calls it, fruit or a bit of cheese. She loves yogurts but lately I have been having plain yoghurt and now she actually quite likes that with her fruit, rather than the sugary ones. She is also only allowed sweet cereal on weekends, else it is oats or weetbix without extra sugar. She still probably eats too many sweets. She doesn’t have free access and I don’t buy in quantities but accumulate party packs etc, she can’t just finish it all in one go. We also keep them in a container where she can’t reach, and sometimes when she is not looking things disappear, like suckers and fizzers. However, she has a memory like an elephant when it comes to sweets, if she knows she has some at home she will start bargaining from the minute I appear at school. I did get into a habit of buying something whenever I took her shopping, but now I can warn her ahead of time that today we won’t be buying anything and although she tries to change my mind, there is no tantrum or anything. It’s tough because sweets and chips are everywhere, always in their reach.
    The first time I took her to the dentist with me, the dentist said that it is better for their teeth to have chocolate rather than chips or other sweets that stick to the teeth for longer. Not sure how true that is.
    It’s a fine line. You don’t want sweets to be a reward, but at the same time it’s obvious to them that you can’t have them all the time, so they become more desirable. I have also started teaching her to enjoy them, eat them slowly rather than gobble them down, so they last longer, and it has actually helped. She never gets a whole packet at once, I put a few in a bowl, and she wil sit and nibble at them for ages.
    I am happy though that she is a good eater in general, is willing to try anything, and has only a few things she has decided she doesn’t like. So at least she is also getting in some good stuff!

    August 9, 2014 at 11:48 am
  • Reply zombeemom

    We eat too many sweets in our house too, unfortunately. I think I need to nurture my Inner Sugar Grinch.

    August 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    • Reply Lizann Chiccaro

      Hi Sharon
      I have three kids and my little girl is Ava’s age. With my two boys I was mostly responsible for their initial upbringing ( I am divorced and re-married). I was very strict with them i.t.o food and sweets only allowed on weekends. The result being, they eat every single veg conceivable and anything i put in front of them, they don’t seem to have issues with sweet things, but do still enjoy them from time to time. With my daughter ( my husband’s only child) it was a whole new ball game!! Daddy also spoils her rotten and it’s easy because the boys are not home one week on/one week off! So she is an “only” child two weeks a month! She has NEVER wanted to eat veg and literally cringes and “grills” (afrikaans) when she takes a bite of carrot/broccoli etc. I think this proves to a great degree how important it is to establish those first baby eating habits! I am putting my foot down now too since following LCHF and slowly getting my whole family to wean themselves off carbs… I don’t mind the kids having limited fruit, but trying to get out of the bad habits bit by bit…It’s going to be a challenge! But I can guarantee you….we WILL succeed! xxGood Luck!

      August 11, 2014 at 11:49 am
  • Reply MamaCat

    The sweets…it drives me insane sometimes. I have now created a treat box. In it there are some sweeties and choc, but I have also added stickers and little toys so treats are not just things to eat. My three year old is allowed to pick something…I bribe shamelessly to get things done…I am not proud of it.
    I have a poor eater…so I try not to make meals a big deal because a fight will ensue. I try to have snacks I find acceptable, available. They are not superhealthy, but I am willing to let it go…biltong, cheese, yoghurt, home made custard, home made cookies, crackers, peanut butter. I figure those are better than a dinnertime fight or chocolate and sweeties.
    Maybe you need to sit Walter down and try to convince him first.

    August 11, 2014 at 3:38 pm
  • Reply Charlotte aka The Stiletto Mum

    Im with you on this. Lorelai always conplains about a tummy ache but then she has more sweets. Ots a constant fight between myself and Hannes.

    August 12, 2014 at 8:53 pm
  • Reply CeeBee (@poseamonkey)

    You are not overreacting at all! When I was growing up my parents gave us sugar so rarely (except in breakfast cereals). I remember we would have dessert on a Friday only and my mom would buy a normal slab of chocolate and share it out between the 5 of us. Not because she was concerned about sugar but because of finances and just the healthy eating principles she grew up with. I hope to bring up my future kid the same way, more or less. IT is so unhealthy and also the kids learn deviousness and lying to get sweets, as Ava is figuring out. My BF and I never ever have sweets stored in the house because we would both binge eat them all in one go, so that will never be an issue for our kids, perhaps you should try not storing them but buying one sweet once a week?

    August 17, 2014 at 10:51 pm
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