The other day, my daughter chose fruit over cake. I’m not kidding. And it’s not even the first time.
Several times over the last year or so, I have offered her a choice at social gatherings: “Would you like some cake or some fruit?” I love watching her little eyes light up and her big toothy grin broadening as she shouts “FUTE” at the top of her lungs and shoves a handful of blueberries into her mouth.
Now, if you left her alone with a big slice of cake in front of her, would she eat it? Probably. What kid wouldn’t? But she probably wouldn’t finish it (she’s been known to leave half a cupcake on her plate before).
A few years ago, if you’d left me in that room, I would have eaten the whole slice of cake without hesitation. Now, I find most shop-bought or coffee-shop cakes far too sweet, and after a couple of mouthfuls, I find I don’t want any more…
Our sugar-quitting story started when my husband and I did the I Quit Sugar detox as a half-hearted experiment shortly after our daughter was born, and we were so blown away by the results of it that we decided it was worth sticking with. Increased energy, weight loss, clear skin and fewer aches and pains were all worth giving up what turned out not to be so hard to quit after all! We still eat a little sugar now and then, or use natural sweeteners as an alternative for some treats, but on the whole, we don’t massively miss it from our diets, and we feel better for it.
Having ‘unhooked’ ourselves from this addiction, we wanted to avoid hooking our kids in the first place, and decided to go against the tide and potentially make ourselves very unpopular by refusing to give our young children sugar in any form except on rare occasions. For us, this includes not only refined sugar, honey and other obvious contenders, but also dried fruit, fruit juice, and artificial sweeteners. Yes, sometimes they get the odd biscuit or bit of cake, usually from a friend or grandparent, but we primarily stick to ‘no sugar’ at home, and instead get them interested in and enjoying veggies, whole fruit, grains and protein in various forms. And you know what, they love them! They don’t seem upset by the decision, they are thriving in sleep, energy, and growth, and they are happy and enthusiastic without the sugar-related crashes!
I won’t lie to you and say it is easy to raise sugar-free kids in today’s world, but it is certainly possible, and probably far easier than you have been led to believe! And the truth is, if we keep our homes low-sugar, emulate a good example, educate and excite our children about food and not kick up a massive fuss about them having a bit of sugar outside the home every now and then, then chances are, our kids will choose fruit over cake. At least some of the time!
I do believe, however, that if my husband and I hadn’t been the ones to quit sugar in the first place, then our journey to raising sugar-free children would have been very different. As with so many many things in the world of parenting, it starts with us as parents. If our kids see us getting excited about healthy food and making good choices, then they are far more likely to follow in our footsteps.
If you want to read more about our sugar quitting journey, you can read my testimonial post for I Quit Sugar here.
Note: If you are serious about giving up sugar, I would recommend a detox period where you quit it completely. Feel free to try and reduce consumption without it, but since sugar is addictive, it is much easier to quit if you have a ‘cold turkey’ period. Trust me, I’ve tried. My husband and I found the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program to be the perfect fit for us, and every now and then (about once a year or whenever we have found ourselves a little too reliant on sugar again *ahem, Christmas*) we do a mini-4 week detox just to adjust our tastebuds again.