Ways to Cut back on your kid’s sweet treats

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Set your kids on a path for lifelong healthy eating by limiting the amount of added sugars they eat.

Sweet treats and sugary drinks have lots of calories but few nutrients. Most added sugars come from sodas; sports, energy, and fruit drinks; cakes; cookies; ice cream; candy; and other desserts

Serve small portions

Show kids that a small amount of treats can go a long way. Use smaller bowls and plates for these foods and serve them in bite-size portions.

Sip smarter

Soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks contain a lot of sugar and are high in calories. Offer water when kids are thirsty.

Use the checkout lane that does not display candy

Most grocery stores will have a candy-free checkout lane to help avoid temptation. Waiting in a regular checkout lane tempts children to ask for candy that is right in front of them.

Choose not to offer sweets as rewards

By offering food as a reward for good behavior, children learn to think that some foods are better than other foods. Reward your child with kind words and comforting hugs, or give them non-food items, like stickers, to make them feel special.

Make fruit the first choice

Offer a variety of fruits in different ways. Make fruit kabobs using cantaloupe, bananas, and strawberries or offer whole fruits such as pears, clementines, or apples

Make food fun

Sugary foods that are marketed to kids are advertised as “fun foods.” Make nutritious foods fun by preparing them with your child’s help and being creative together. Create a smiley face with sliced bananas and raisins. Cut fruit into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters.

Encourage kids to invent new snacks

Make your own snack mixes from dry whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, and unsalted nuts or seeds. Let school-age kids choose the ingredients to create their own snack.

Play detective in the grocery aisle

Show kids how to find the amount of total sugars on the Nutrition Facts label in various cereals, yogurts, and other products. Challenge them to compare products they like and select the one with the lowest amount of sugar.

Make treats “treats,” not every day foods

Treats are okay once in a while. Just don’t make treat foods an everyday thing. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.

If kids don’t eat their meal, they don’t need sweet “extras

Keep in mind that candy or cookies should not replace foods that are not eaten at meal time.


Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

6 thoughts on “Ways to Cut back on your kid’s sweet treats”

  1. Thank you Bibian for this awesome post on ways to cut back on kid’s sweet treats. This is really an informative and educative article which all parents must read. Naturally human we like what brings us pleasure and not pain. Same goes with something sweet and not bitter. Kids are naturally gonna love sweet foods and drinks but we the parents are there to ensure they don’t over take sugary food. All the ways you mentioned are really perfect in cutting back swat treats. But I have a question, what age can parent stop their kids from taking sugary food? Because medically I leant that kids can take sugary food at a certain age to develop a sharp brain. Thanks 

    1. Thanks Olalekan for your comment

      You don’t really need to stop your kids from taking sugary foods you just need to curtail the amount of raw sugar that they take in. So I don’t think that there is an actual age to stop them from taking sugar

  2. Wow, thank you very much. My kid sister has fallen so much in love with anything sugary that I have begin to get scared. She often cries whenever I take her candy or cookies away from her ,then I’ll have to give her back so she will stop crying. But this article made me understand how to help me stay away from it , especially the part of making healthy foods fun for her and using the checkout lane with no candy to tempt her. Thanks so much for this article. Really helpful

  3. Thank you so much, Okoye, for this post.

    Given that sweets are the main cause of tooth decay and obesity, it is good to implement a strategy on how we can limit sweet treats and sugary drinks we give to our kids. I would also suggest that it is a good idea to have a schedule, I mean appointing certain days to have candy (example: Wednesday and Sunday).

    It is always great to learn from senior and experienced people like you!

    1. Thanks Dear

      But you know its really not easy keeping up with the schedule, Sometimes you tend to please by giving them all these sugary substances. So the real work lies with us parents

  4. It is very essential to lay a good foundation to our children. Good foundation is not limited to morals and finance but it also has to do with our nutrition. A lot of children are exposed to sweet and sugary foods which are not healthy for them. It is true that they need glucose but most of our foods contains carbohydrate and children are not supposed to be addicted to consuming sugary substances so that it wouldn’t affect their adult lives. 

    However, I have learnt some things in your article. I have learnt not to use foods to appreciate children when they do well, so that they wouldn’t think that one food is better than others. I have just learnt to use things like cards or similar objects to make them feel special. I really found this article very useful. 

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