Sweets

5 Ways to To Reduce Your Child's Sugar Intake Instanty!

Most kids (including mine) love sugar. But most of them get way too much. Added sugar, the kind put in by manufacturers, comes from the usual suspects like soda, candy, and desserts. But plenty of staples in children’s diets provide added sugar too–even seemingly healthy stuff like yogurt and whole grain cereal.

Problem is, with so many foods and drinks containing added sugar, kids start expecting everything to be sweet. And when the sweet tooth is stoked by hyper-sugary stuff, more mildly-sweet foods like vegetables (and even unsweetened drinks like water) may start to lose their appeal.

So reducing the added sugar in your child’s diet makes sense, both for their health and their flavor preferences. You could buy unsweetened foods and drinks and sweeten them yourself (or just serve them plain). You could also take a gradual approach, which works well for kids who are devoted to their very favorites.

One way to do that is to go “halfsies”: Combine sweet foods and drinks with their unsweetened counterparts. You’ll significantly cut the total added sugar but preserve some of the sweet taste. As your kids get used to a less sweet flavor, you can even transition to the unsweetened version completely (or add fruit or a touch of honey to foods like cereal and yogurt).

Here’s one I’ve been doing lately:

5 Ways to Reduce Sugar In Your Child's Favorites Instantly! from Real Mom Nutrition

There are plenty of ways to use this sugar-slashing trick:

5 Ways to Reduce Sugar In Your Child's Favorites Instantly! from Real Mom Nutrition 5 Ways to Reduce Sugar In Your Child's Favorites Instantly! from Real Mom Nutrition
5 Ways to Reduce Sugar In Your Child's Favorites Instantly! from Real Mom Nutrition 5 Ways to Reduce Sugar In Your Child's Favorites Instantly! from Real Mom Nutrition

Do you use this “halfsies” method? Tell me!

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How I Handle Halloween Candy Craziness

by Sally on October 15, 2014

How I Handle Halloween Candy Craziness by Real Mom NutritionMy name is Sally. I’m a dietitian. And I hand out candy to trick-or-treaters.

In the past, I’ve doled out bags of pretzels, small tubs of Play-Doh, and sheets of stickers too (and see nothing wrong with going that route). But mostly, we hand out candy. Usually chocolate.

If you’re a regular on this blog, you know I can get riled up about junk food. Especially when it’s on the sidelines of kids’ sports every weekend (read: Soccer Mom Soapbox). I’m that mom calling the summer camp director to ask about switching from Powerade to water. I’m the lady stopping at the front desk of the rec center to chat about the junk in the vending machine. I even advocate for healthier school Halloween parties.

Yet when it comes to trick-or-treating, I’m cool with candy. Why? Because I think it’s okay to celebrate some occasions with food. (If goodies aren’t handed out every day for made-up special occasions like t-ball practice, it’s easier to do this.)

But I also know that trick-or-treating can spiral into candy craziness, so here’s how I make it work in our house:

1.  I wait until the very last minute to buy candy. Ideally, I’m at the store at 3pm on the day of trick-or-treating. Once upon a time, I made the tragic error of buying Halloween candy in advance, which of course meant we ate it, bought more, ate that, and bought more.

2. I give my kids free reign. We eat dinner before trick-or-treating, then all bets are off. They can eat as much as they want, which often comes with its own handy life lesson: If you eat too many sweets, sometimes your belly hurts and you feel gross.

3. I play the Switch Witch. After my kids return home to dump and sort their stash, they reserve a pile of their favorites. The rest (the stuff they don’t like or don’t like very much) goes into a bowl on the dining room table. While they’re sleeping, the Switch Witch arrives to take the candy and replace it with a toy or game. This is optional at my house. My kids aren’t forced to turn over their candy, and last year they kept a pretty sizeable amount. I know not everyone is a fan of the Switch Witch (read Red, Round or Green’s take in this post, “Switching Off“). But I like that this fun tradition teaches them to value what they like best–but not waste time on the stuff they don’t, simply because it’s there. In our culture of omni-present junk, that’s a useful skill.

4. I put them in charge of their stash. In our house, we have a one-treat-a-day policy which works most of the time. You can have your treat whenever you want: in your lunchbox, after school, after dinner, even WITH dinner. My two boys’ Halloween candy is kept in separate bags in a cupboard they can access. We decide together what a reasonable portion is (usually a fun-size bar or two small pieces of candy) and they serve themselves. They don’t obsess. There’s no sneaking of candy.  (Well, sometimes I sneak a piece and get caught when one of them finds the wrapper in my office garbage can.)

So that’s how it’s done in our house because this seems to work well (for now at least!). You may do things differently, and that’s okay. You may toss out everything with artificial colors, only buy GMO-free goodies, or hand out temporary tattoos. Or maybe you’re that fabled house with the full size candy bars. By all means, do your own thing.

But if you sneak your kids’ candy, do a better job than me of hiding the evidence.

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My Number One Trick For Eating Right

October 6, 2014

I don’t have the stamina for junk food anymore. As a kid, I could suck on Sour Patch Kids until my tongue was raw. I could wash down greasy pizza and Cheetos with a Cherry Coke and be no worse for the wear. These days, a donut for breakfast would send me crawling back to bed in a sugared […]

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Finding Balance For My Child’s Birthday Party

July 16, 2014

Recently, my 10 year old had his birthday party at an indoor trampoline park: a dozen friends, an hour of bouncing, and a party room for 40 minutes. Frankly, I’m usually too cheap to shell out for parties like this, but we figured we’d go big to ring in those double digits. Plus, any arrangement […]

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Feeding My Kids: What I’ll Be Doing Differently in 2014

December 31, 2013

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions (beyond a flimsy promise to “drink more water” which always fizzles out by January 3rd). But recently, I read about a concept of assigning “themes” to the year instead, and that seems much more doable. Besides, thinking in broader concepts instead of narrow action items is a nice change of pace for […]

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Why You Should Cut Your Mother-in-Law a Break

November 26, 2013

When hanging out with a group of fellow moms, there’s only so long you can go before someone starts complaining about their mother-in-law. Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes there are legitimate grievances (“She told me I’m a bad parent and a terrible cook!”). But more often than not, the complaints feel a little thin (“Can […]

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10 Food-Free Ways to Celebrate School Birthdays

October 28, 2013

I love cupcakes as much as the next person. I have sweet memories of the birthday cupcakes my mom made for me when I was a child (read “For the Love of Cupcakes“), and I’m sure that some years, she brought those cupcakes to school. But for better or worse, cupcakes at school are on […]

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One Of The Best Things You Can Do On A Sunday

September 3, 2013

If you read my last post, you may be thinking that by “one of the best thing you can do” I mean “go to yoga class” or “ignore the mountains of laundry and snuggle with your kids” (read “A Back-To-School Pledge To Myself“). And yes, do those. And go to religious services. Or watch football. […]

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Let Them Eat Cupcakes

July 1, 2013

I was at a party recently with other families. It was a potluck, and the food was on a buffet. Someone had brought mini cupcakes and put them on the table along with the rest of the food. So when the kids went down the line with their paper plates, guess what they wanted? Mini […]

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For the Love of Cupcakes

April 19, 2012

I still remember the cupcakes my mother made for me on my 5th birthday. She arranged them on a tray and used frosting to write one letter on each cupcake, spelling out “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SALLY” ( if you look closely at the photo, you can see the little boy on the right has the “D”). […]

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