I grew up drinking and eating lots of sugar. Needless to say, I have a sweet tooth. As I got older, I remained a petite person but developed a noticeable “pooch” in my belly area in college. Not being able to give up sweets altogether, I made a concerted decision to “eat my sugar” instead of drink it. So instead of drinking soda, I allow myself the occasional dessert (and glass of wine), which for me is much more satisfying.
Now living in Colorado for many years, I’m a “water-holic,” downing wholesome, free Denver Water tap water to stay hydrated, keep my skin nice and organs functioning well. We serve primarily water at all meals at home, and my 2nd grade daughter has thought nothing of it. When I learned that just one soda or sport drink exceeds a child’s entire day of recommended sugar intake, and consists of 125 – 250 empty calories, I made a firm decision to keep these drinks out of the house. We try to eat pretty healthy at home, but pizza and dessert are inevitabilities here and there. When the treats creep into our diet, at least I know I’m not magnifying the sugar and calories by serving sugar-loaded drinks too.
But as the weather gets warmer and social gatherings gear up, my daughter is being offered soda, sports drinks and sugared fruit juice on a regular basis. I’m fine with it being a treat, but now it’s becoming so common that she’s asking for it at home and frowning more at her plain glass of water. We’ve been getting creative, serving ice water in wine glasses or colorfully decorated cups from Target, adding a splash of lemon or lime, and even adding fruit to mineral water for a fun bubbly option.
This creativity goes a long way in our house and I generally feel like I’m winning the battle on this front at home. When we’re out and about a lot these days and sugary drinks and desserts are abundant, I ask my daughter a simple question: “would you like to drink your sugar or eat it?” While she’ll almost always choose the cookie or ice cream scoop, at least she appreciates it as an occasional treat and understands that sugary drinks are in that same category. And I have a much cuter plastic cup collection too.