Children naturally prefer sweet tastes. So it’s normal for them to flock to foods like cake, cookies, ice cream, and candy.
So what’s a parent to do?
Research shows that being too restrictive or lax with sweets can backfire. Finding that middle ground can make the difference between a child who grows up to be a cookie monster or a master of moderation.
Stay consistent with how you manage sweets and parents will find their children will learn the art of moderation, a skill that will serve them well for years to come.
Here are five tips to help parents tame a child’s sweet tooth.
Tip #1: Be the Model for Moderation
The phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” sums it up perfectly. According to research, children restricted from highly palatable foods at home ate more high-calorie foods when given free access. So simply denying a child a cookie may cause one major backlash.
When children ask for sweets, instead of saying “no” let them know they’ll have them at a future snack, meal, or birthday party. This signals to kids that they will eventually get to enjoy the sweet foods they love so much. Follow this up by offering sweets a couple times a week. This will get the child used to eating sweets routinely and not excessively.
Tip #2: Move Sweets Out of Sight
Is there a cookie jar right where kids can see it? Are the sweets in the house easily accessible? The immediate environment children experiences makes a big difference in their eating patterns.
Move healthy snacks in view, like fruits and vegetables, while keeping sweets tucked away until children are allowed to access them. Display fruit and veggie trays between meals with tasty and nutritious dips like this creamy herb dip.
Tip #3: Don’t Give Sweets Special Attention
Sweets get a lot of attention from parents and kids, both as something positive and negative. Studies show that using sweets as a reward for eating other foods, like vegetables, increases kids preference for the reward food. For example, saying “If you finish your broccoli, you can have cake,” makes cake king in your child’s mind.
Instead, be neutral in how you deal with sweets by treating them like just another food your family eats. Making sweets taboo may make them more desirable to your child.
Tip #4: Stick to Healthy, Homemade Sweets
Children who get used to homemade muffins, cakes, and cookies eventually learn to prefer those to processed treats. Take some extra time to bake something where we, the parents, control the ingredients. That way, we can teach them to appreciate quality over quantity. Homemade sweets allow us to add more wholesome ingredients like whole wheat flour, oats, nuts, fruits, and veggies.
Tip #5: Keep Sugary Drinks in Check
Sugar intake has increased by 20% in the last few decades, and sugar sweetened beverages, like sodas and juice drinks, are mostly responsible. When children are fed sugary drinks often, they acquire a high taste threshold for sweetness.
Limit your child’s source of sugar sweetened beverages to parties and outings and stick with 100% fruit juice or milk with meals and water between meals. Include special beverages that are sweet and nutritious like this yummy smoothie.
Keeping Our Patients Safe:
Under the guidance of the BC Provincial Health, the College of Dental Surgeons of BC and the BC Dental Association, we have implemented strict new clinic standards and safety measures in order to help protect our patients and staff, which include:
- Pre-screening all patients for COVID-19 prior to accepting in-person appointments.
- Providing hand sanitizing stations and following strict hand hygiene protocols.
- Increasing the frequency of sanitization of high-touch areas and surfaces.
- Limiting the number of people in the clinic at one time and practicing physical distancing protocols.
The health & safety of our patients has always been our top priority. We encourage everyone to stay safe and to follow the directions of Health Canada and your local health authorities.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! Great thanks for your understanding and support!
Contact Family Care Dental Clinic for your consultation today!
Located in the heart of North Vancouver, BC, Family Care Dental Clinic is a group of passionate dentists and dental experts who are committed to providing patients with exceptional dental care in a modern and relaxing environment. We at Family Care Dental Clinic offer our clients a wide range of comprehensive dental services for the whole family.
Call (604) 987-3545 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment with a member of our excellent team!