Why Does My Child Crave Sugar?

I speak with a lot of #parents who tell me that they they have a child who eats “tons of sugar” or who has “no control.” Going deeper, I most commonly see that kids overrespond to sweets when:

-They are hungry! This can be due to missed meals or caloric restriction (#dieting)

– Or when sugar is banned, restricted, or forbidden in their house

Many kids head to school and into sports, having missed breakfast and/or having barely touched their lunch. “Just a banana” doesn’t count for breakfast.  Ideally, all meals would have all five food groups (grains, protein, fruit/vegetable, fats, dairy). Complete meals help kids feel full throughout the day (and reduces obsessing about food and cravings). Helping to make sure your child’s lunch is delicious and filling is important. Check with your child:  How is your lunch?  Is it filling enough? 

Note: kids living in larger bodies need MORE food to feel sufficiently satisfied (not less, contrary to what society/ diet culture tries to sell you).

When hungry, there is a tendency to bypass one’s natural stopping place. We see high cravings for all foods, any foods, including sugar, sweets, and anything a hungry kid can find – but especially ones that provide quick and easy nutrition. 

Identifying high hunger levels throughout the day, and then finding ways to minimize these levels is key.  We help kids to do this in our book No Weigh! And we teach parents more about this, in our forthcoming book, “Raising Body Positive Teens: A Parent’s Guide to Diet-Free Living, Exercise and Body Image” (out March 2022). 

For more resources on this topic, see:

Stress eating lately? The ‘hunger meter’ can help

Therapy Rocks! Podcast:  Disrupting Habits that Don’t Help

What To Do When You Want Food but You’re Not Hungry

#sugarcravings #adolescentnutrition #dietculturedropout #foodisfuel # selfcare #parenting #teens #haes  #allbodiesaregoodbodies #bodypositive #nutritioneducation

Posted in Relationship with Food
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