Escaping the Sugar Monster

Proverbs 25:16  Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.

Gummi bear invasion

I’ll be the first to admit it – I’m a sweet tooth junkie. I love my french-vanilla flavored cup of coffee first thing in the morning, and I equally love ending the day with a bowl of ice cream or some of my wife’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. That’s not to say that I don’t try to eat healthy and exercise regularly, but it is to say that it’s something I have to be daily and consciously aware of.

Living in the fast-paced drive-thru generation, we’re easily sucked right into the idea that this is just the way that everybody eats, so it must be okay – processed foods with lots of added sugar – it’s just normal, right? Wrong.

Added sugar is one of the very worst yet most used ingredients in most of our modern day foods. And unfortunately, the consequence for future generations is a greater likely-hood of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

  • In 2008, studies showed that the average American was consuming over 60 pounds of added sugar per year. That equals about 76.7 grams per day, or about 19 teaspoons full. Can you imagine eating 19 spoonfuls of sugar in a day?

Needless to say, America has a problem. And I don’t think that it’s the government’s job to solve it or even the school’s job to solve it, but rather, the only people who can really change the eating habits of their family – mom and dad.

The Bible explains in the above verse that those things that are sweet are not off limits, but we are cautioned to take heed of excess. The appetite itself may not be wrong, but we must use wisdom in keeping it in check so as to keep a safe balance between partaking in what is enjoyable versus partaking to the extent that it becomes harmful.

As with any appetite we may have, we must stay in control of our appetites, or our appetites have tendency to take control over us.

So what can a family do to make sure they aren’t overtaken by the sugar monster? Here’s a few easy tips that have worked for our family:

1. Water Instead of Soda

Sugar-sweetened beverages are really one of the worst things you can make a part of your regular diet. We allow our kids to have one soda a week, with the exception of some special occasions.

2. A Fruit or Vegetable at Every Meal.

We don’t follow this religiously, but generally speaking at a minimum, we try to make sure our kids eat a fruit for either breakfast and/or lunch and a vegetable or two with every dinner.

3. Healthy Snacks vs. Junk Food

When our kids get the nibbles between meals, they’re going to go for an apple or a celery stick with peanut butter rather than a Twinkie or cookies. And not because they want to, but because they know that they have to.

A few months ago, I was eating a raw carrot, and I called it a “What’s Up Doc? Stick”. Ever since then, our two youngest boys have been eating “What’s Up Doc? Sticks” nearly every day and asking mom to keep buying more. I say – whatever works!

4. Limited Candy and Sweets

Once our kids have one sweet at any given time during the day, they know that they have reached their limit until tomorrow. And who ever said that kids have to have sweets every single day?  Why not consider sweets to be a reward and not a right, something extra instead of something expected?

Our kids are very selective in what they choose to have for candy or dessert, because they know once they’ve chosen it, there’s no more. Call us mean parents if you want, but it works.

There are so many more ideas or rules that could be followed, and we certainly don’t do it all perfectly, but these are some rules that have served us well.  And not only will these help their health, they may even help their behavior as well.

Some parents may think that this isn’t a spiritual issue, and therefore, irrelevant, but I would respectfully disagree.

If we truly believe that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, then why aren’t we treating them like they are?

Charles Stanley wisely said, “Anything that is an enemy to the human body is an enemy to the temple of God.”

It’s really not fair for us to harp on the negative long-term affects of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs with our kids while slowly feeding them into an early grave at the same time.

Let’s start getting honest with ourselves, and start preparing our kids for a long, happy, healthy lifestyle that will yield many years of service to the Lord. Because the eating habits they develop at home are most likely the eating habits they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. And that includes the future generations they themselves will one day be responsible to feed.

I’d encourage you to read an article that touches on this subject entitled “3 Ways to Pay it Forward to Your Kids.”

I’m sure your household has healthy eating rules that you follow.  I’d love to hear what they are.

If you’re a parent, what would you add to our list? Do you think our rules are too strict… not strict enough? Please share.  I’d love to hear your feedback by you leaving a comment.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Absolutely agree! There is a new documentary called Fed Up and it’s about taking a stand against the sugar in our diets. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard great things about it, http://fedupmovie.com/

    • andrewslinder@gmail.com

      I think I’ve heard of that, Mindy. I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing some of your ideas/rules.. I believe them to be just perfect. When I was younger my parents hardly ever bought us any candy or soft drinks, ever! I guess the key or feeding our children well is being consistent with healthy habits.

    • andrewslinder@gmail.com

      You’re very right about consistency. Thanks for sharing!

  • Deanne

    My mother was very anti-sugar. We only got candy at Christmas and Easter except when other relatives gave us some. We also never got pop except at the fair and at others birthday parties. Consequently all five of us kids have excellent teeth. We didn’t feel deprived but just were really thankful for it when we got some! Of course, we grew up on a farm with most things raised by us which could be a factor as well.

    • Andrew

      No doubt there are more benefits than we might initially think of. Great insight. Thanks, Deanne!