6 Ways to Teach Your Child About Sugar


Many parents make a conscious effort to keep their kitchens free from excess sugar found in many children’s foods. They steer clear of cookies, candies and other junk foods, replacing them with healthier snack options. But what about those juice boxes, sports drinks and diet sodas that are so popular? Dr. Patrice J. Tyson, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, offers a few ways you can help your kids understand better about too much sugar.

1. Make it fun.

Have your child help prep fruits to infuse in their water. Show them all of their options and have them tell you what they like and don’t like.

2. Be patient.

Don’t just say no. It’s easier as an adult to understand how nutrition affects our health. Be patient in explaining this process.

3. Share the truth.

Show your child just how much sugar is in different types of drinks by measuring it out. Visual cues will help them understand just how much is going into their drink. A serving should have 10 grams or less of sugar.

4. Don’t scare them.

Don’t tell them a monster will eat them if they have sugar. Sometimes it’s easy to want to scare children into making the right choices, when it’s better to just be honest.

5. Plan ahead.

Teach them the importance of planning ahead. Sit down and plan out the week’s activities – school, soccer practice, dance, etc. Knowing they’ll need an extra boost of fluids around those times will help you and your child prepare.

6. Ask questions.

Ask about snack time at school, breaks during practice or meals at friends’ houses. This gives you a better idea of the nutrition support your child is getting outside of your home.