’Tis the season when our kids get passed out free candy, followed up by holidays that are filled with cookies and sweets galore. It seems that in order to be “festive”, that sugar is often just a given and that to be “normal” parents, we are pressured to let our children partake. As a parent myself, I often feel like this issue is one that I have very little control.
Instead of restricting completely or not participating in the holiday event at all, I encourage you all to look at it form the perspective of damage control. The dentist would say (or at least mine did just say) that candy is fine, as long as you brush your teeth afterward. I think we can take that thought a step further as yes, we need to take care of our teeth, but I also consider the impact sugar has on our child’s microbiome, blood sugar and general health. Is there a way to do damage control so they can have sweets sometimes?
A good first step is to have a plan and set expectations for all in your family. How many treats per day? Or just on holidays? This is going to be different for all families. Some believe that letting your kid go at their Halloween candy as much as they want the first day and then dolling out the rest slowly or even tossing it might be a good option. Maybe treats only on the holidays themselves? Maybe the “Switch Witch” comes to your house and switches the candy for a toy? The important thing is to have a plan before you find yourself with a kid in front of you asking for treat. This is the key to damage control (and your sanity).
I mentioned the microbiome: sugar can mess with its balance and sometimes shift it towards heavy candida/yeast or other harmful flora that survive better on a high sugar diet. Thus you end up with an internal “beast” that is constantly asking for more (it may not be your kid – it may be their flora asking for sugar!). How to you balance that? I recommend including foods high in fiber before or with the sugary treat. A great example is eating raw vegetables before going trick-or-treating. Then optionally, giving the specific flora supplement called saccharomyces boulardii after eating sugar. I think of “sachro b” as pushing out the candida/yeast, allowing more room for the good flora to thrive.
And blood sugar? This one has to do with balancing sweets with proteins. Making sure your child has a fiber AND protein rich meal before the sugar fest will not only leave less room for sweets but also help them process it better. It will also help reduce or eliminate the falling apart phase post
Finally, a note about general health and sugar. I myself try to do everything in my life and for my family in moderation and think of sweet treats in the same way. You probably know what you or your child(ren) can tolerate and how much is too much. It might mean only eating one serving of sweets on the weekend or maybe it just doesn’t work for your family right now. For most though, I think a treat on occasion is probably okay.
As always, be sure to check with your child’s physician if you plan on making changes to their diet. At Intuition Wellness Center, we specialize in health and wellness services for children, young adults and their families. If you think you would like some extra support, we’re here for you.
Written by: Kate Sage, NMD