As we are well into our summer holidays, I thought it would be worth posting a blog post on my opinion on treats during holidays, birthday parties and other special events for toddlers. I have written a blog before on sugar per se, which ideally should be kept to < 5% of refined sugar according to the WHO. This is not a lot of sugar, if we take into account that honey and fruit juices also count as refined sugar.
I generally recommend to parents to not include sugary treats as part of a toddlers normal diet (i.e. that they on a regular basis get a sugary treat), but to rather incorporate these treats when it comes to holidays, birthday parties and special events. Needless to say, during those events the refined sugar intake will exceed 5% refined sugar, but it will “even out” if intake otherwise is low. When these occasions occur, children should be allowed to enjoy these foods. Yes, this often leads to sick tummies (including vomiting), but this is also a way for children to learn that eating too much of these foods can hurt their tummies. Keeping sugary treats to these occasions only has further benefits, in that a child learns that sugary treats are not part of a normal diet, but that they are enjoyed and consumed without any guilt (when this occurs) and most importantly these events come and go, not like a “treat cupboard” at home, that is there constantly. It makes it so much easier to say “no” to sugary treats if they are not available at home…..and it is also much better for us as adults to not have these tempting us.
Finally, dental health is so important. So if your child does have sugary treats, then ensure good oral hygiene with tooth brushing.