Author Topic: how long toddler sugar free?  (Read 1113 times)

letsdoit

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how long toddler sugar free?
« on: June 25, 2018, 12:00:04 PM »
hi, DD has not had anything more sugary than pears, and she is 2.  the world is conspiring to give her cake.  MIL is dying to give him sweets.  I don't know why?  she says he'll have more energy (DD is super energetic)
how long did y'all make it before giving in? and how did you manage it after ward?

okits

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2018, 12:24:17 PM »
My kids got to eat cake on their first birthday.  Since then, it's been a lot of moderation.  A slice of birthday cake when celebrating an actual birthday is fine.  A little dessert (like a Halloween-sized piece of candy) if they have eaten a nutritious dinner is fine.  Sugary treats for no particular reason are uncommon.  An occasional (monthly/quarterly) bribe for parental sanity is probably not going to ruin them. 

I'm also mindful of food sources of sugar (fruit juice, drinks, dried fruit, granola bars).  Those things are also usually treats when my kids get them.

Have your spouse suggest to his/her mom other ways MIL can show love that don't involve junk food.  If it helps, spouse can say it was the pediatrician's recommendation.

jezebel

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2018, 12:37:05 PM »
What are you worried about, specifically? I'm less concerned about if my kids eat sweets than the overall content of their diet.  And they've never been "sugar free" - that's impossible.  There varying amounts of sugar in breastmilk, baby formula, baby cereal, fruit, etc.   

I personally wouldn't forbid a type of food outright, that's likely to back fire and cause preoccupations and binging.  We try not to make rules about food.  We try to offer unprocessed and balanced meals and healthy snacks, mostly fruit.  If dessert is offered, we may put a limit on the quantity if necessary, but we'd rather our kids set their own limitations (obviously this may not work for all kids/situations). 

letsdoit

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 12:44:17 PM »
What are you worried about, specifically? I'm less concerned about if my kids eat sweets than the overall content of their diet.  And they've never been "sugar free" - that's impossible.  There varying amounts of sugar in breastmilk, baby formula, baby cereal, fruit, etc.   

I personally wouldn't forbid a type of food outright, that's likely to back fire and cause preoccupations and binging.  We try not to make rules about food.  We try to offer unprocessed and balanced meals and healthy snacks, mostly fruit.  If dessert is offered, we may put a limit on the quantity if necessary, but we'd rather our kids set their own limitations (obviously this may not work for all kids/situations).

that's food for thought.  not worried about anything except research that shows sugar is way worse than people think

Sibley

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2018, 02:51:06 PM »
If the fact that your MIL is trying to push you is bugging you, then you have absolute right of veto. You're the parent, she is the grandparent, and grandparents need to respect the parents even if they disagree.

In terms of sugar - everything in moderation is my vote. And if grandma wants to sugar up the kid, then grandma gets to deal with the sugar high and subsequent crash. Only fair.

Zamboni

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2018, 02:59:04 PM »
Haha, at least MIL kept you in the loop somehow. Mine just snuck the cookies to them . . . one of my children had a serious food allergy identified early on but she still scoffed at our "introduce new foods one at a time" method. But, I'm pretty relaxed about food as long as there is plenty of variety, so I gave up on trying to regulate NaNa's shenanigans pretty quickly once the food allergy test cycle was complete. Good luck!

cats

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2018, 03:21:17 PM »
Our informal rule is that nobody else (grandparents, teachers, etc) is allowed to give out-and-out sweets (cake, ice cream, candy) until our kid is old enough to PROPERLY brush and floss his own teeth (he is currently a bit over 2).  For some reason I find that phrasing it to my parents as a concern about dental hygiene plays better than a concern about other health concerns.  I guess perhaps because there is some sort of end to that (at some point my kid will learn proper dental hygiene), it's not just an open-ended decree of no sugar ever. Also, out dentist is MUCH more aggressive about discouraging sugar and harping on the evils of various foods with regards to potential for tooth decay than our pediatrician is about doling out diet advice.  So I can VERY honestly say that our dentist read us the riot act about what foods are not okay for a toddler and my parents will be nodding along in agreement and saying oh, yes, you should listen to your dentist. Whereas when I tried to tell them I don't want my son to be a sugar addict they started coming back with "oh, it's a little, it won't hurt, you didn't have much sugar but you have to have some fun, blah blah blah". My parents also only see us 1-2x/year so I will admit it is not a huge concern, they simply won't have much power to control my child's diet.

That said, our daycare serves lunch and snacks and while they adhere to some very strict nutritional guidelines about added sugar, their food is NOT 100% sugar free.  The kids definitely occasionally get Hawaiian rolls with their lunch, for example, and while they have assured me they do not use juice as a sweetener, I could believe that some of the baked goods contain very concentrated applesauce.  So I would be lying if I said my kid has no sugar.

We do not serve sugary foods at home and generally fruit is served as dessert rather than as part of the main course, so he has to make a decent attempt at the protein and veggies before he gets fruit.  We don't keep juice or jam in the house (I do make things like applesauce and fruit compote, though we do not offer them daily).  My husband and I both feel pretty strongly about keeping his diet low in sugar so we very rarely/never buy things like kids crackers, fruit pouches, etc.  Once you start reading labels it's really pretty shocking how junky many "healthy" or "wholesome" kids snacks are.

If we are at a party, I do not forbid the sweets but again, I try to make sure my kid eats some healthy stuff first.  If we are going to a party I usually pack healthy/low-sugar snacks and so far I have had reasonable luck at getting something like some peas or cucumber slices and a string cheese into him before he spots the other food, and if he has something in him already he is generally less interested in the snacks.  We have been lucky that so far he has had limited interest in the junky stuff--he has yet to request a juice box, for example.  Last week his daycare had a potluck and someone brought mini-cupcakes, he was agitating for one so I gave him one with most of the icing scraped off (the icing being the major source of sugar, IMO).  He tried a bit and then decided he wasn't interested.

With regards to your MIL, I think you do have the right to veto sugar completely or set down rules as to when it's okay.  And it is also fine to flat out tell her that sugar does not "give energy" (okay, it gives you a temporary high...and then a crash) and that she needs to back off.  Personally, I am not okay with sugar being a regular part of our M-F routine.  At a birthday party or special holiday, fine---I recognize that in the long-term I will have limited control over that.  But for it to be something they have daily...just NO.  I have struggled a LOT with sugar consumption and I am sure the fact that my childhood home was always stocked with cookies, ice cream, and chocolates contributed.

Cranky

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2018, 04:16:24 PM »
My general philosophy is that we live in a world filled with sweets, and we've got to give kids the tools to navigate that. (Also, in the long run, there are many worse things than sugar in moderation.) So when they were very little, we just didn't have sweet stuff at home on a regular basis.

If we went to a birthday party, they ate cake.
If the grandparents wanted to go out for ice cream - great! (Because I think a strong family relationship beats out pretty much anything else.)

But there was no dessert on a regular basis. We didn't have soda at home.

Once they were school age, it's a little trickier to navigate, and again - we tried hard to keep it to special occasions, but we also incorporated sweet/junk food into the "occasional treat" category. Each kid got to pick one thing at the grocery store each week, and if they wanted froot loops, that was their pick, but it was a dessert food, not a breakfast food. I baked cookies, but they were an after school snack, not a reward for eating your dinner - because that suggests that dinner is yucky.

I will say that I have 3 grown up daughters who eat sensibly, enjoy exercise, are not overweight, and don't have eating disorders as far as I can tell, so it seems to have been a strategy that worked.

kimmarg

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2018, 06:51:43 AM »
My general philosophy is that we live in a world filled with sweets, and we've got to give kids the tools to navigate that. (Also, in the long run, there are many worse things than sugar in moderation.) So when they were very little, we just didn't have sweet stuff at home on a regular basis.

If we went to a birthday party, they ate cake.
If the grandparents wanted to go out for ice cream - great! (Because I think a strong family relationship beats out pretty much anything else.)

But there was no dessert on a regular basis. We didn't have soda at home.

Once they were school age, it's a little trickier to navigate, and again - we tried hard to keep it to special occasions, but we also incorporated sweet/junk food into the "occasional treat" category. Each kid got to pick one thing at the grocery store each week, and if they wanted froot loops, that was their pick, but it was a dessert food, not a breakfast food. I baked cookies, but they were an after school snack, not a reward for eating your dinner - because that suggests that dinner is yucky.

I will say that I have 3 grown up daughters who eat sensibly, enjoy exercise, are not overweight, and don't have eating disorders as far as I can tell, so it seems to have been a strategy that worked.

This. I like the idea of a sugar free lifestyle but I realized early on that the world isn't sugar free. Everything in moderation is how I live so how much of a double standard is it for me to eat cookies after the kid goes to bed. Cookies/Cakes/etc are 'treats' and called as such. Might be a birthday or just a treat. (We had a 'staycation' weekend and went for ice cream).

elliha

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2018, 07:06:36 AM »
We did no candy and only a tiny piece of a cookie before 1 but after that they have been given small amounts from time to time. My daughter gets to pick one small bag of candy on Saturday and our son will get to have maybe 3-5 small pieces of candy. They are 6 and 2. They get cookies roughly once a week and the same with potato chips. We share a package of cookies the whole family so my son might get 1-2 and our daughter 3-4 and the adults maybe two each. I am taking about small cookies like Oreos, not huge ones. Ideally I want the cookies to go but change is hard to achieve sometimes. The older gets perhaps an adult handful of chips and the younger maybe half of that. We don't serve sugary drinks most of the time, only milk or water but during the summer they occasionally get them to make sure they drink enough. In winter we try to make it a thing for special occasions only. If I had been the only parent here I would do chips or candy once a week and cookies perhaps once a month but we are two and the man of the house loves chips and I don't so we often get both candy and chips. He is not much into cookies but can't for some reason say no to the daughter when she asks for them.

Our overall food is pretty good with lots of fruit and vegetables and they both love to eat these things. I might be more restrictive than daddy but I have never wanted them to be without sugar completely but not be taught that they need to have plenty every day.

RachelM

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2018, 07:52:31 PM »
I think with food, you want to play the long game.

It's great to give your kid an all-healthy diet in those early years when they're just eating what you put in front of them... but sometime between 2 and 18, they need to have the tools to navigate a world full of food choices!

Personally, I've found Ellyn Satter's "division of responsibility" really helpful in feeding my almost-3-year-old. The idea is that you decide what and when the child eats, and they decide if and how much to eat. Here's a helpful summary: https://feedingbytes.com/2012/03/how-division-of-responsibility-in-feeding-works/

I like it because it takes stress and judgment away from mealtime. It also helps create a positive framework for offering sweets. We will occasionally offer a small treat with a meal (think a square of chocolate or a small mini-muffin) and do it as part of the meal, which my son can choose to eat whenever. Sometimes he eats it first, sometimes in the middle. Sometimes he doesn't eat it at all. We also occasionally make a treat a snack, and he can eat as many cookies or muffins or whatever as he wants.

The beauty of this is that because he's used to having occasional access to these foods, and there is no special aura attached to them, he truly doesn't overeat. We trust him to self-regulate. So far, it all balances out.

I will also say that I grew up in a household where we did not regularly have any kind of sweets. Raisin Bran was too sugary and forbidden. My husband grew up allowed to have ice cream and soda *every day.* As a kid, I snuck food and gorged myself at my friends' houses. I also have struggled with overeating in adulthood. My husband? Not at all.

letsdoit

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2018, 07:22:20 AM »
i feel the same way when i tell myself not to eat carbs.  y'day i rebelled and at like 9 servings of carbs

trollwithamustache

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2018, 09:21:36 AM »
We were trying to make it a few years longer but grandma snuck past us. I'd vote for holding out as long as you can simply to not have to deal with sugar monsters.

Someone posted a comment about learning to make food decisions, but that seems a bit hopeful that you can explain all that to a 3 year old...

jezebel

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2018, 10:33:55 AM »
We were trying to make it a few years longer but grandma snuck past us. I'd vote for holding out as long as you can simply to not have to deal with sugar monsters.

Someone posted a comment about learning to make food decisions, but that seems a bit hopeful that you can explain all that to a 3 year old...

It's not about explaining something. Letting kids self regulate their intake teaches them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full rather than an outside force deciding it. That's why the poster above said parents decide what and when and kids decide if and how much. It's effective.

clairebonk

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2018, 03:54:56 PM »
I feel that people who want to give my kids sugar are really just interested in bribing my kid to like them which I have zero tolerance for. If you are not in my kids life to help/improve the kid, then get out of the way. Sugar has zero nutritional value. If you need to give kids sugar because thatís the only way you know how to get them to like you, then you have some personal problems. Is that extreme? Probably.

We donít keep any processed (white/brown) sugar in the house. We make lots of treats sweetened with dates and bananas and apples. We use honey and maple syrup occasionally, and molasses with a high iron content.

My technique is to ask my 5 year old if he wants this one cookie (say at a school function which has everything Costco) or does he want to wait until we are at home and he can have 2 cookies (which I made with some nutritional value). Heís no dummy, he chooses the latter.

cats

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2018, 05:17:12 PM »
We were trying to make it a few years longer but grandma snuck past us. I'd vote for holding out as long as you can simply to not have to deal with sugar monsters.

Someone posted a comment about learning to make food decisions, but that seems a bit hopeful that you can explain all that to a 3 year old...

It's not about explaining something. Letting kids self regulate their intake teaches them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full rather than an outside force deciding it. That's why the poster above said parents decide what and when and kids decide if and how much. It's effective.

I think you are interpreting "food decisions" for children as identical to food decisions for adults.  For an adult, all the foods in the world are available and you have to make decisions about how much healthy vs. unhealthy food to eat to maintain your health.  For a kid, the variety of food available is likely narrower.  Ellyn Satter does not advocate making all foods available in unlimited quantities all the time and then hoping your kid will magically learn to choose chicken and broccoli over ice cream.  The idea is that you offer your kids mostly healthy foods, and that your kid then gets to pick which of those healthy foods they are going to eat.  So if you offer your kid chicken, broccoli, and rice for dinner and they eat broccoli and rice but no chicken, you don't sweat it, you just keep having the food available as part of meals and eventually your kid might try it.  Satter's approach *is* totally compatible with limiting the amount/frequency of junk food offered, and the parent should get to decide what sort of amounts and frequency they are comfortable with.  So if grandma tells you that you need to let your kid have the opportunity to eat a triple scoop sundae with fudge sauce several times a week, it is totally fine for you to say nope, that is too much/too often and then tell grandma that we want to reserve this for a weekend treat or wait until Junior is three or whatever you are okay with.  I do think just saying "We aren't doing sugar ever" is going to cause you problems and inspire grandparents or other relatives to undermine you, whereas if you tell them a framework within which you are okay with treats being offered, they're more likely to go along with it (see above, I've told my parents they need to hold off until kiddo has more mastery of dental hygiene, this has met with no resistance at all, amazingly)

trollwithamustache

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2018, 08:08:50 AM »
We were trying to make it a few years longer but grandma snuck past us. I'd vote for holding out as long as you can simply to not have to deal with sugar monsters.

Someone posted a comment about learning to make food decisions, but that seems a bit hopeful that you can explain all that to a 3 year old...

It's not about explaining something. Letting kids self regulate their intake teaches them to eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full rather than an outside force deciding it. That's why the poster above said parents decide what and when and kids decide if and how much. It's effective.

ah, ok, different animals :)

When they were small, they always had access to a cabinet of  snacks. If they didn't like dinner, they could always go get the cheerios and have cereal. However, once they left the table, they couldn't come back. (ie no cereal an hour later after storming away from the hamburgers) So regulation within the approved parameters :)

If we had chocolate syrup in the refrigerator that they could access, it either lasted 6 months because they forgot/didn't see it, or lasted about 6 hours with half ending up on the floor.  So... we tended not to  do that.

LaineyAZ

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2018, 08:40:52 AM »
Best advice I've seen:  don't label any food as a "treat."  It leads to the idea that you've been "good" enough with your diet then you can "treat" yourself, aka go for the sugar or fat. 

A treat for a kid is extra time with a parent, or a later bedtime, or extra playtime.

FIRE@50

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2018, 08:46:46 AM »
If the fact that your MIL is trying to push you is bugging you, then you have absolute right of veto. You're the parent, she is the grandparent, and grandparents need to respect the parents even if they disagree.

In terms of sugar - everything in moderation is my vote. And if grandma wants to sugar up the kid, then grandma gets to deal with the sugar high and subsequent crash. Only fair.

I completely agree with this except for the sugar high concept. That is a myth.

MicroRN

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2018, 02:18:50 PM »
My general philosophy is that we live in a world filled with sweets, and we've got to give kids the tools to navigate that. (Also, in the long run, there are many worse things than sugar in moderation.) So when they were very little, we just didn't have sweet stuff at home on a regular basis.

If we went to a birthday party, they ate cake.
If the grandparents wanted to go out for ice cream - great! (Because I think a strong family relationship beats out pretty much anything else.)

But there was no dessert on a regular basis. We didn't have soda at home.

This is the approach we're taking, too.  Desserts are generally only for special occasions, we don't keep sugary treats in the house, no sugar cereals, and we don't keep soda or even juice around.  I control how much sugar they get in oatmeal or yogurt by starting with plain and adding an appropriate amount.  I avoid foods with added sugar.  However, we don't think anything should be an absolute ban, since that'll likely lead to binge eating sugary stuff later.  We'd rather teach them to enjoy sweets in moderation as occasional treats.

That being said though, as the parent, you have the final word over what your kids eat.  Your MIL already got to raise her kids her way, and she needs to respect your preferences.       

TheWifeHalf

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Re: how long toddler sugar free?
« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2018, 02:33:32 PM »
Bad parent here - my kids earned M & Ms by using the potty
It got to the point it wasn't worth it to them because they had to brush their teeth right after.
 One time, one was on the potty and I had to leave the room. I came back to toothpaste in the potty - squeezing the tube was fun!  No M & m that time