Dear Jewish Food Hero: How Can I Get My Kids To Eat Healthy?

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How can I get my kids to eat better? How can I get my kids to eat healthy?

Dear Jewish Food Hero, I want to make sure my kids eat healthy and be a good role model for them. But they seem to be addicted to sugar. What can I do to start to introduce foods to their diet that are not full of sugar but are still sweet enough for them to enjoy?

Dear Good Mother with Sugar Loving Kids, Israel

First, I want to honor your intention to feed your children healthy food and to be a good food role model for them.  It sounds like you want to create a nourishing atmosphere around food (me too!)

You write that your children “seem to be addicted to sugar”.  Before we get into this, I want to place this discussion in a positive framework.

It is natural that your children seek and enjoy sugar.  We all seek and enjoy sugar.   Here is an article explaining why.

Perhaps, you are not satisfied with how they are satisfying their cravings for sweet foods.  For example, they might be satisfying their “sweet tooth” by eating processed foods (i.e. cookies, cakes, snack bars, crackers, box cereals, candy, drinking juices, sweetened drinks, etc).

You write “What can I do to start to introduce foods to their diet that are not full of sugar but are still sweet enough for them to enjoy”.

For me, its about allowing yourself and your children to satisfy your innate desire to have enough healthy sugars in your body. Instead of restricting yourself from starches and sugars, producing an intense craving for those very things, I want to encourage you to redirect your cravings towards healthier starches and a reasonable amount of natural sugars in your diet and in your children’s diet.

Satisfy sugar cravings by eating whole foods and adding a reasonable amount of natural sugar to your diet.

Consume sugars in their natural forms found in unprocessed starches, vegetables and fruits.

  • Center your meal around a minimally processed starches, whole grains and legumes (i.e. potato, sweet potato, rice, corn, pasta and beans, etc.).
  • Highlight delicious seasonal fruit your go-to daily dessert (serve it raw, baked or pureed)
  • Serve vegetables that your children enjoy.  Prepare them steamed, baked or raw (without adding dairy or oil).

Including A Resonable Amount of Natural Sugar:

  • Treat natural sugar as a condiment that adds flavor to food and enjoyment to eating
  • Sprinkle a reasonable amount of minimally processed sugar on top of your food (like turbinado sugar and cane sugar)
  • Sweeten foods and drinks (or enjoy a spoonful) with a resonable amount of natural sugars: raw honey, molasses and maple syrup.

Including starches and a reasonable amount of natural sugars in your diet will allow you to give your children the sweet food they desire in a healthy way.

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