Cutting back on sweet treats 

With the Halloween holiday quickly approaching it is important to remember to limit the amount of foods and beverages with added sugars your kids eat and drink. If you don’t buy them, your kids won’t get them very often. Sweet treats and sugary drinks have a lot of calories but few nutrients. Most added sugars come from sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, juice drinks, cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, and other desserts. 

Here are 6 tips below that can help you cut back on your kid’s sweet treats. 

  1. Serve small portions. It’s not necessary to get rid of all sweets and desserts. Show kids that a small amount of treats can go a long way. Use smaller bowls and plates for these foods. Have them share a candy bar or split a large cupcake.
  2. Use the check-out lane that does not display candy. Most grocery stores will have a candy-free check-out lane to help moms out. Waiting in a store line makes it easy for children to ask for the candy that is right in front of their faces to tempt them.
  3. Choose not to offer sweets as rewards. By offering food as a reward for good behavior, children learn to think that some foods are better than other foods. Reward your child with kind words and comforting hugs, or give them non-food items, like stickers, to make them feel special.
  4. Make treats “treats,” not everyday foods. Treats are great once in a while. Just don’t make treat foods an everyday thing. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.
  5. Make fruit the everyday dessert. Serve baked apples, pears, or enjoy a fruit salad. Or serve yummy frozen juice bars (100% juice) instead of high-calorie desserts.
  6. Encourage kids to invent new snacks. Make your own snack mixes from dry whole-grain cereal, dried fruit, and unsalted nuts or seeds. Provide the ingredients and allow kids to choose what they want in their “new” snack.

(Shakera Williams, M.P.H., Assistant FCS Nutrition Extension Agent – Nutrition)