Sweets and Your Toddler!


This time of year, sweets are everywhere. Should you let your toddler indulge?

By FamilyTime

 

When you take your one- or two-year old to visit a great aunt or long-time family friend over the holidays, chances are the youngster will be offered cookies, ice cream, or candy canes. What’s a mother to do?

 

Stand firm, that’s what — without being too rigid. In other words, try to strike a balance but err on the side of your child's health.

 

Sugary Diets

Some studies show that children as young as seven months drink soda, which is nothing more than carbonated sugar water. From there it only gets worse as parents may feed their very young children sugar-laden treats (and salty foods) and neglect the important and nutritious vegetables and fruit.

 

It’s tough. Temptation is everywhere but as a rule, pediatricians don’t advise taking toddlers to fast-food restaurants or letting them eat much candy or drink soda.

 

Doing so is detrimental to strong dental health, for one thing, but it goes further. Because we are born with a natural sweet tooth, feeding it can obscure the taste for healthful foods such as vegetables and sugar-free cereals. Even fruit.

 

Is Any Sugar Okay?

It’s unrealistic to forbid all sweets. Like adults, kids love them! They taste good and make us happy. But too much of anything is not healthful. Once kids develop a taste for sugary foods, some experts believe they will be less apt to try other, good-for-them foods.

 

As a rule, limit your toddler to two or three cookies a day, a scoop of ice cream, or one or two pieces of candy. This will be hard during the holidays, but if you keep these restrictions in mind, you probably won’t exceed them too excessively.

 

Don’t ever let a toddler have soda, but don’t be fooled by the fruit juices on the market, either. Many contain only a small percentage of actual juice. Look for pure fruit juice and even limit that. Fruit has sugar! Stick with milk when you can. 

 

Your Child Will Thank You     

In most cases, restricting sweets is preferable to forbidding them. Every parent has to make up his or her own mind about how to deal with this issue, but with sugary treats everywhere we turn — and no more so than during the holidays — it’s perhaps unrealistic to expect too much.

 

If you don’t make sweets a reward, if you keep your attitude about all food pleasant and casual, your toddler will make it through the holidays very happily. Offer him a wide array of foods, that includes protein, dairy (if he tolerates it), grain, and vegetables. In many instances, when he pleads for a treat, he will be just as happy with a graham cracker!