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 you'll find your kids will learn the art of moderation, a skill that will serve them well for years to come.
Secret #1: Be the Model for Moderation
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 your child used to eating sweets routinely and not excessively.
Secret #2: Stick to Healthy, Homemade Sweets
Secret #3: Keep Sugary Drinks in Check
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.
Secret #4: Don’t Give Sweets Special Attention
Instead, be neutral in how you deal with sweets by treating them like just another food your family eats. Feeding expert Ellyn Satter says to serve dessert right along with dinner, so kids don't hold out. Stay calm when you find out your child ate candy at a friend's house; making sweets taboo may make them more desirable to your child.
Secret #5: Move Sweets Out of Sight
Move healthy snacks in view, like fruits and vegetables, while keeping sweets tucked away until you serve them. Display fruit and veggie trays between meals with tasty and nutritious dips like this creamy herb dip.