How to Get Your Kids to Cut Back on Sugar

If you have kids in your life, I don’t have to tell you how important it is that they eat less sugar.

I also don’t have to tell you that childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed in recent years, tripling the rates from when you and I were growing up. 1 in 3 children are overweight, and 1 in 5 children are obese.

But you may be surprised to learn WHEN in childhood these rates climb sky high.

It’s not consistent from age 0-18. In fact, the rate jumps dramatically after age 5.

According to the CDC, from ages 0 to 5 we do a fairly good job of helping children stay healthy. But then obesity rates DOUBLE during the ages of 6 to 19.

That means that as parents have less and less control in the choices their kids make, kids make worse and worse food choices.

Unfortunately, school and activities feed our kids a slew of processed, sugar-filled foods marketed to kids and parents, and even endorsed for decades by health authorities as low fat or otherwise “healthy.”

This is an enormous problem for the future of our nation as well as for the long-term health and wellness of today’s young people. Too many kids eat junk from morning until night.

But I want you to know there IS hope. It is possible to get your kids on a healthier path – with less sugar, less processed food, and less health consequences.

You might think your kids won’t be willing to change their habits and that the way your family eats is a lost cause.

But I have a story for you. A friend of ours adopted a little girl over a year ago. When they adopted her, she had been eating junk – tons of sugar, lots of processed foods, very few vegetables, and she had never tried fish in her 3 years of life.

They started giving her healthy choices – lots of organic veggies, fish, and fresh fruit. Not only did she grow taller by more than DOUBLE what a child that age is expected to grow, she also had better ability to concentrate, and she’s absolutely thriving with her family and at school. It’s a remarkable turnaround and if she can go from eating garbage to super foods, your kids can make changes too.

So today, I’ve got 5 key ways to get your kids to cut back on sugar. Let’s get started.  

  1. Don’t make sugar the goal post.

You know Chelsea and I eat very little sugar, and we would love it if our kids ate as little as we do. But when we became parents, we chose to never be those parents who say, “You can't have a cupcake at a party.” Some parents do that, and that’s what works for them.

Our approach is control what we can control, and let our kids be kids. They aren’t perfect, just like we aren’t perfect, and the occasional cake at a birthday party or chocolate from grandma isn’t going to hurt them it they eat an otherwise healthy diet.

But with that said, we don’t look at food as treats. Lots of parents hold candy or ice cream as a treat for good behavior or good grades, but when you make sugar a goal to reach toward, your kids are getting the message that it’s good and worth working for.

I hate to be harsh, but sugar is poison, not a treat. No one wants to hear that, but unfortunately, it’s true. When you start thinking about it that way, it can change the health of your children today and for many years to come.

Find other ways you can treat your kids, like spending extra time with them or taking them somewhere special. Often, they get more excited about that than a lollipop anyway.

  1. Do a pattern interrupt.

This is a powerful concept I learned from my mentor, Tony Robbins. In order to teach it to you, let me give you an example.

My son Brayden came home from school one day and I must have heard the word “cookie” come out of his mouth a thousand times. There had been a party at school and of course, a little bit of sugar is never enough. He wanted more.

I had to do a pattern interrupt, as Tony says. I asked Brayden if he would want to make a chia pudding with me. He immediately said, “Yes!”

Then I asked what flavor he wanted, pumpkin, chocolate, or vanilla coconut. He got to choose, making him feel empowered, and so much more inclined to participate. He added the ingredients one by one, he blended it, he named the treat, and then he taste-tested it (and licked the bowl clean)!

So not only did I successfully get Brayden off the cookie train, but I also got him to spend some quality time with his daddy, and we made a delicious, healthy alkaline treat for the entire family.

You can employ a pattern interrupt too. Get their mind off sugar by changing the conversation to something good they will want. Maybe for you it will be a family dance party, a delicious green smoothie with their choice of ingredients, or a trip to the playground.


  1. Emphasize good choices.

This goes for everything we do in parenting, right?

It usually doesn’t work well to criticize decisions kids make that we don’t agree with. And the last thing we want is to tell our kids that sugar-filled foods are garbage (even if it’s true) because you know they’ll go to school and say, “My daddy says your lunch is garbage!” We can’t have that!

So at our house, we emphasize good choices. We praise our kids when they make good choices and give positive reinforcement like, “This is going to make you grow big and strong!” or “Just like a race car, you need this good fuel to go fast!”

As kids get older, you can remind them that, yes, it’s your choice what you eat, but we hope you make healthy choices just like we hope you make choices to be a good student, a kind friend, and so on. That way, they know that making choices you don’t agree with doesn’t mean they are bad kids.

If you slowly add one good food at a time, and do it consistently, eventually, the good will outweigh the bad. There’s a reason I recommend that for adults – it works. And it will work for your kids too.

  1. Use teaching moments.

You know how you feel when you eat sugar – especially more than a little sugar. A slice of cake on a special occasion or a sugary beverage might seem harmless… until 15 minutes after you eat it when you have a stomachache, headache, and your blood sugar is all out of whack.

The same things happen to your kids when they eat sugar, whether they realize it or not. As they get older, it becomes clearer and clearer to them when you point out the link between sugar and feeling bad. Even at just age 5, my son has started to notice that and he stops himself from gorging on sugar.

Talk to them without judgment about how they feel after they eat sugar. Let them come to the same conclusions you have on their own, guided by information from you of course, and it’s a lesson that will stick long term as they make more and more of their own food choices.

  1. Make it a family affair.

It’s a lot easier to get your kids to eat less sugar if you are eating little to no sugar yourself. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not work when it comes to food. Kids are too smart.

Clear out sugar and sugar-filled foods from the pantry. Don’t overlook cereals (which often have a lot of sugar even if they are the supposed “healthy” ones), granola bars, drinks, and dried fruit, which is high in sugar.

Then get them involved in the kitchen. When they help make foods, they’re more likely to enjoy them. Here are a few favorite recipes that we make with our kids. They taste sweet, but they are low in total sugar and alkaline!

Here’s another easy recipe your kids will love…

Chocolate Monkey Milkshake

Ingredients (serves 1)

1 banana, frozen
2 handfuls spinach
1 cup almond milk or coconut milk
1 spoonful of almond butter
1 scoop Alkamind Organic Daily Protein in Creamy Chocolate flavor


Blend and enjoy!

You can add a scoopful of clean keto fats and proteins to any smoothie with our Acid-Kicking Plant-Based Protein, which features:

  • ZERO grams of sugar
  • NO artificial anything!
  • Only 110 calories per serving
  • 20 grams of protein
  • 3 healthy fats

Fitness Magazine called it “a superfood lover’s dream.” And Shape Magazine listed it in their “Top 10 Plant-Based Protein Powders That Don’t Taste Like Dirt.”

So try it today! You can buy one jar or Subscribe & Save 15%.



Dr. Daryl

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