Better Body Clinical Nutrition


How to transition a family of sugar addicts!

Thursday, March 9, 2023 2:18 PM

Excerpt from “Food To The Recue” written by Dr. Jennifer Shell, D.C. 
Photo by Tobias on 
Picky eaters usually are not veggie lovers. They won’t touch vegetables. Why are kids so picky? It’s because they are addicted to sugar. Think about it….. Picky eaters love mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and noodles. Once addicted, we will all go to great lengths to get sugar and carbs. Ever gone on a late-night convenience store run? I rest my case. Let’s face facts. My son has grown up on veggies from the start, but he can still wig out and want more and more sweets if the sugar train has been rollin’ through town. 
The bottom line is to go slowly. Really, you don’t have a choice unless you are ready for World War III at your house! Start to add in some good stuff before yanking all the sugar out. So, give them a handful of almonds with that dessert and make a conscious effort to serve less dessert each time. At least some protein will help moderate the sugar spike, so they don’t totally tank. Each night, decrease the amount of dessert given and increase the amount of good stuff, such as nuts and fresh berries. These changes go for you and the kids! Once you get the bad stuff out, notice how moods change with certain foods. I have patients frequently tell me how good they feel when they eat better. If they eat something they used to now, they get sick. Their bodies are saying, “Heck no, you are not poisoning me!” kids and adults need to realize that different foods affect how our bodies work and function. 
Kathleen Des Maison, in “Little Sugar Addicts”, recommends going slowly and focusing on the process. The kids need to know your plan and why you’re implementing it, and they need to know the process will happen step by step. Don’t just yank everything out at once. You need time to implement the new changes; this is a lifestyle change, not a diet. Let the behavioral changes your child is making settle in. You have to commit to specific gradual changes and stick to your plan. Going slowly allows the neurological changes to settle in easier: It reduces the number of variables your kids are trying to deal with. You do not want anyone in the family to feel overwhelmed, you included. Remember the tortoise and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. 
If your kids will only eat carbs for breakfast (toast, waffles, bagels, muffins, cereals), start to move slowly into better choices. Instead of frosted flakes, serve Cheerios with Xylitol or raw honey. Try oatmeal with nuts, seeds, and fresh berries. I often try to make pancakes on the weekends. I use gluten-free, sugar free mix, to which I add ground flax and protein powder. Then I throw in blueberries, and nobody is the wiser! I make a lot of them and then freeze the extras. Then when we are in a rush, I pull out frozen pancakes for the kids and pop them in the toaster for a fast, pretty decent breakfast. Heat frozen berries with some water and stevia for “fruit syrup” Try smoothies with protein powder; but call them “milk shakes”. 
For lunch, buy sprouted tortillas and make roll ups. If you kids will only eat jelly sandwiches, start to buy sugar-free nut or seed butters and low-sugar, natural jelly and slowly mix them in with the “regulars”. If you are starting with traditional white bread, go to whole grain bread next and work your way to sprouted breads. While switching the breads over, start to serve less bread in general. If your kids are old enough to get it, explain that this isn’t the best food for their bodies. It will not help them grow up big and strong, contrary to what advertisers or actors in commercials say. We are told that it is fortified with vitamins and minerals, though. What a line! These “nutrients” are synthetic (that means not from nature) and usually sprayed into the product, like an afterthought. 
Stage your dinner like a Broadway production in which all cast members are present as often as possible. Curtains please! If your kids are open to it, get them to help with the preparation. 
The show starts with the vegetables first. I tell the kids that they can’t have more carbs, such as wild rice, until the protein and veggies are gone. My kids love carbs just like everybody else! My oldest son is five. He is constantly saying, “I don’t like chili. I don’t like zucchini,” and on and on. My response is always the same. “I understand, but I would like you to at least try it.” I don’t care what it is or how many times he has had it before. Usually, he starts to eat it and then tells me how good it is. Insist that your kids try a new food, but don’t force them to eat it if they aren’t fans. Let them know they can try it another time. It can sometimes take ten tries before the critics say they like it, so don’t give up on insisting that they try it. If they won’t give it a try, don’t sweat it. They will probably want to try it when they see you eating it regularly. Also, never tell your kids you don’t like certain healthy foods. You might not be a fan of Brussel sprouts, but who knows, maybe your kids will like them. Keep it positive. 
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Dust yourself off and hop back on – There is work to be done!