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Sugar is everywhere! We see it at every birthday party, school celebration, holiday gathering and even in common foods that one would not necessary be overly suspicious of, such as whole grain bread. Doesn’t it feel like once your children have had some of those “special treats,” that it can be even harder to enforce limitations? I can see how giving in to their requests can seem easier than trying to reason or deal with a dispute, but I am determined to come up with some solutions. How can we balance letting our children enjoy some treats, and at the same time, avoid the sugar trap? 

For many years, I have strived to eat clean, avoiding refined foods and sugars. I say “strived” because I am not perfect. I set reasonable and attainable goals. I also allow myself to not feel completely deprived. Lately, if I have a craving, I try to listen to that, but if possible come up with a cleaner version.  If I do indulge in foods that are highly refined and loaded with sugar, the way I feel afterward is a good reminder to get back on track.  

We have all had that sugar-crash feeling. Now keep that in mind, and really watch how sugar affects your kiddos.  What happens to my son is exactly what happens to me, but almost tenfold because of his smaller size. His energy spikes and he runs around all happy and silly (more so than usual) and then he crashes. And the crash is no fun for him or anyone else.  

Okay, I hear you. You don’t want to be one of “those parents” who never lets their children enjoy a special treat.  I don’t either. But shouldn’t that be the key word, special? Somehow it seems ingrained in us that all of the holidays, parties and other celebrations can’t possibly be special without sugar. I disagree, and I know many of you do too. It will take some focus and determination, but this belief can be changed.  

I can also appreciate that so many of these foods are tied to fond memories of our childhood. We can still create those fond memories, and even use some of our favorite family recipes bysimply cleaning them up. We can also teach our kids that other foods are special, because of how good they are for us. 

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