The One Thing to Avoid for Healthier, Happier Kids

The One Thing to Avoid for Healthier, Happier Kids

“How do I get my kids to eat better?”

This is hands down the question that I get asked more than any other!

There’s actually several things you can do to encourage healthy eating, but today we’re focusing on the single most important thing you can do to help your kids be healthier and happier.

Here it is. Get rid of sugar. There are definitely more things to consider for optimal health, but sugar is the single worst offender! When I say get rid of sugar, I mean pretty much all of it! I know, I know, it’s really not that easy. I said it was simple—I didn’t say it was easy. But let me tell you, it certainly can be done!

What’s so Bad About Sugar

The consumption of added sugar in food is probably the biggest contributor to poor health. Did you know that the average American consumes 150 pounds of sugar each year? According to the Center for Disease Prevention and Control, 1 in 5 children in America are considered obese. This is three times what it was 30 years ago. In addition, 1 in 5 US adolescents is now prediabetic (CNN, 12.4.19).

Sugar consumption can be directly tied to obesity, diabetes, and mood disorders. Because sugar contributes significantly to systemic inflammation, it is also linked to skin problems, ADD/ADHD, IBS, anxiety, and headaches.

Let’s Unsugar Our Kids

So, you’re ready to free your family from sugar! Congratulations! Focus on avoiding refined sugar  by reading food labels and avoiding products that contain refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
• Refined sugars include: cane sugar, brown sugar, corn sugar, corn syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, isolated fructose, cane syrup, and brown rice syrup, dextrose, sucrose
• Artificial sweeteners include: Equal (aspartame), Sweet’n Low (saccharin), and Splenda (sucralose)

The natural sugars in fruit is fine as long as you don’t eat more than a couple servings of fruit each day.If used sparingly, raw honey, maple syrup, molasses, and coconut sugar can be used. These natural sweeteners are minimally processed and contain nutrients. If your family is looking to lose significant weight, I would recommend removing fruit and natural sweeteners from you diet as well.

Make yourself a promise that the next time you go grocery shopping, you will not buy soda, sports drinks, packaged convenience foods, candy, cookies, or anything containing refined sugar or artificial sweeteners… I think you get the idea! You don’t even have to tell your family. Just don’t buy it. When they ask for said junk food, just simply state “we don’t have it, but there are blueberries in the fridge”.

Kids may resist at first because let’s face it, Spaghetti-0s, Skittles, and soda taste really good (yes, most canned pasta contains more sugar than you’d think)! Kids are resilient and adaptable. Over time they will learn to love the sweet taste of fruit and the occasional homemade sweet treat!

Make healthy swaps

If this is a complete 180 for your family, instead of getting rid of all snack foods, try switching out sweet snacks for, Lära Bars or Rx Bars—they are minimally processed and contain quality, real food ingredients. You can also make homemade treats. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it—even healthier, homemade treats made with honey or maple syrup are still high in sugar and can contribute to sugar-related health problems if eaten too often. See below for some recipes for healthier treats.

Instead of soda and sports drinks, try flavored carbonated water, water with a splash of fruit juice or lemon, and tea with a teaspoon of honey and lemon (hot or iced).

I can’t have junk food ever again?

Let’s be real. Will you ever have a dessert or some processed food? Most likely, yes! And when it’s the exception rather than the rule, your body will be able to bounce back quickly!

Here’s a few healthier recipes that kids love! They’re all grain free and refined sugar free:
Carrot Cupcakes
Chocolate Brownie Waffles
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cinnamon Roll Waffles
Homemade Pop Tart Pastries
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

For more tips on getting your kids to eat healthier, check out 6 Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Veggies

Let me know how it goes! Leave a comment or
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instagram: @cindy.hilliard.nutrition


All content on is for information purposes only and is not to be used in place of medical advice or treatment. Always seek the care of a medical professional if you have health concerns.


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