My Family Thinks I’m Crazy for Not Letting My Toddler Eat Sugar
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
As a first-time parent, I was determined to do everything right. From my daughter’s birth, I carefully researched every aspect of her care and development, including what she should eat. During pregnancy, I became very aware of the effects of my diet on my baby and made my best effort to expose her to healthy eating from her conception and beyond.
One decision I made early on was to delay introducing sugar to her diet until she was at least two years old. It wasn’t an easy choice since sugar is in so many foods these days, and it took some convincing to get my family on board, but I’m so glad we did it.
Making the Decision to Be Sugar-Free
When my daughter was a baby, I was shocked at how much sugar was in everything- even baby food, snacks, and formula! It seemed like every other parent was giving their children sugary snacks and juice from a very young age, but I knew from my research that sugar can be addictive and harmful to a growing body (or anybody, for that matter).
Early sugar consumption is correlated to negative issues like cavities, obesity, high blood pressure, lower academic performance, and limited learning capacity.
I was determined to give my daughter the healthiest start possible, so I made the decision not to give her sugar until she was two years old.
Facing Criticism from Family and Friends
My decision didn’t go over well with everyone. My family members were skeptical; some even criticized me for being too strict. They would roll their eyes and make comments about how she was missing out on the fun of childhood. Thankfully, they respected my wishes and never tried to “sneak” her sweets, as I’ve heard happening in some families.
Sometimes, it was hard to stand my ground when I felt constantly judged, but I knew it was the right thing to do for my baby girl.
Sticking to My Guns
It wasn’t always easy to keep my daughter from sugar, especially when we were out in public or around other children indulging in sweets. But I led by example and always had yummy alternatives for her.
I found creative ways to make treats without sugar, like frozen fruit pops and homemade muffins sweetened with applesauce. She was thrilled to have a “fruit” cake with layers of fresh watermelon, pineapple, and strawberries for her first birthday.
I noticed that she never felt deprived or had tantrums over having a sweet- because she didn’t know the difference. Over time, my family members started to see the benefits of our sugar-free lifestyle and began supporting me more.
Seeing the Results
It was a revelation when my daughter finally tasted sugar at age two. She was so excited to try her homemade chocolate cake for her second birthday, but she didn’t gorge herself on it like I had seen other kids do. Instead, she savored each bite and stopped when she was full. I was proud that my approach taught her to eat mindfully and make healthy choices.
Today, my daughter is five years old, and she has a love for sweets like most kids, but she also loves a variety of healthy foods. She enjoys smoothies, fruits, and vegetables and is always willing to try something new. We talk openly about the pros and cons of sugar (because I don’t want her to feel guilty when does indulge), and I let her decide how much she wants to eat on most special occasions. Most of the time, she follows her hunger cues and doesn’t overdo it.
Reflecting on my Decision
Looking back, I know my decision to delay sugar was a bit extreme compared to most parents. But I don’t regret it for a second. I believe that starting my daughter on a healthy path early on has set her up for a lifetime of good habits.
It wasn’t easy to go against the norm, and I find it sad that not eating sugar is considered “weird” because it’s so ingrained in our culture. Regardless, I’m proud that I did it and that my family supported me. I would make the same choice if I had to do it all over again.
The only change I’d make is to worry less about others’ opinions and not feel the need to explain myself to everyone. I would just politely say “no thanks” when she was offered sugar and leave it at that.