Getting Kids to Eat Healthy

I have been in an uproar lately after seeing the documentary Fed Up. The film follows the lives of four teens who are struggling with obesity. They are trying to lose weight, but can’t. The film sheds light on just how much added sugar is in some processed foods and it was shocking to me.

I’m the kind of mom who reads labels, makes lunches, and micromanages my kids diet. Giving them more sugar at lunch than they are supposed to eat in entire day wasn’t a conscious decision.

My Kids Hate Me

After I figured out that I was giving my kids too much sugar, I cut back. That sounds simple, but when an 8-year-old boy is used to having a granola bar, a cookie or yogurt in his lunch every day, it’s shocking when he unzips his lunchbox to find whole grain crackers and fruit.

We had decided together to do the Fed Up no sugar challenge for 10 days and it didn’t go very well. Although I had asked my boys if they wanted to do the challenge with me, I don’t think they fully understood what that meant.

I’m a Sugar Addict

I explained that sugar is addictive and that we were getting too much of it. It was my fault that I packed their Easter Basket with chocolate and jellybeans (I love chocolate and jelly beans). It was my fault that I putting too much sugar in their lunches and then gave them dessert. We need to change our behavior now, I told them.

My younger son asked why should they suffer when I was the one who created the addiction for them? What he actually said was, “Why are you torturing us?”

Mom’s Not Perfect

Well, parents make mistakes. I used to be diligent – no juice, only organic, very little sugar. Then they got older and they had team sports where every game (and some practices) ended up with a snack that included some kind of sugary treat. I was tired and started giving them food that was convenient.

We may not have cut out sugar entirely, but we have definitely cut back quite a bit on the amount of sugar they are eating in a day. It’s been a couple of weeks and they’re not complaining about having fruit instead of a yogurt squeeze or carrots in place of a bar.

It’s Not All Torture

We haven’t cut out sugar entirely, but we have nearly cut it in half. We’re more diligent and no one seems to be too upset about their lunches or that we’re not having dessert every night. The most important lesson that my boys learned from all of this is that we need to think about what we’re putting into our bodies.

Published on: May 29, 2014
About the Author
Photo of Yvonne Condes

Yvonne Condes is the co-founder of MomsLA where she talks about motherhood as it could only happen in Los Angeles – from where to go, to what to eat, and how to be healthy. Whether you are looking for fun, free, or seasonal things to do in LA, Yvonne has you covered.

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