There’s something terrible in our pantries. And if you’re like Stacie and Meghan, you probably have it in a big five pound bag. And that’s just in one form, but you also probably bought it in at least two other forms. Even worse? It’s hiding in other foods you bought, too, some of which you may be aware of, but many of which you aren’t. Creepy, right? Even creepier is that some people consider it poison. Even worse than that, our kids — our precious BABIES — are addicted to it! The more you think about it, it’s amazing that we’re still alive and kicking with all this SUGAR infiltrating all of our foods.
Okay, we admit we’re being a bit sarcastic, and perhaps a bit defensive too — because we like sweets! — but it’s easy to get worked up about sugar. There is a tremendous amount of information out there pointing to it being terrible for us and especially for our kids’ growing bodies. But is that really true: Is sugar really that bad? Haven’t people been eating sugar for thousands of years with no major consequence? While there’s no nutritional benefit, in reasonable quantities (the amount of which is to be debated, for sure), is sugar just fine? In this episode, we kick off a three-part series to learn more.
The Sugar Beast
In the first episode of our three-part series on sugar, Stacie and Meghan explore our own feelings about sugar, how it fits into our personal diets, and how we handle it with our kids. For the first time, we grapple with conflicting opinions, not just with each other, but also with ourselves. Because understanding sugar’s place in a healthy, well-balanced diet (whatever that is) is confusing.
Stacie kicks things off by admitting that she sometimes uses sweets to comfort herself emotionally — because, well, it’s been a tough week and the episode was recorded right after she and her 11-year-old saw the film The Hate U Give. (By the way, Isaac has read the book three times and says that it’s even better than the movie. Stacie also mentioned Common Sense Media and very highly recommends that you read about both the book and the movie — and any other media choices you make! — there before deciding if they’re right for your younger tween).
Stacie went on to talk about how she handled feeding her kids sweets and desserts, and also talking about sugar with her kids when they were younger. She shared how that’s changing as they get older. She’s recently borrowed something she read ages ago on Steamy Kitchen: Why I Let My Kids Eat Junk Food. It’s working and feels good. But there’s something that doesn’t feel so good: Stacie’s carrying some guilt about some of how she approached sugar when her boys were younger. Listen for the one thing she hopes parents of younger kids can learn from what she considers her one big mistake.
Meghan also shares how she handles sugar at home as a mom who’s not only in the thick of it with a 4-year-old and 6-year-old, but who’s also a trained pastry chef with a love of baking and sweets. Meghan’s commitment is not only to avoid “good food” and “bad food” labels, but also to share her passion for being creative in the kitchen with her children, and that means baking cookings, dipping pretzels in chocolate, and putting sprinkles on pancakes — and she doesn’t want to feel bad about it. (Nor should she.) But of course, she wants her children to be healthy as possible… and to stop whining about sugar.
So what’s a mom to do?
Meghan shares several real-life strategies that she’s using right now to manage dessert and snack time. And we want you to chime in too! What are your best strategies for keeping your kids’ sugar in check at your house? Find us on Facebook or Instagram and let us know!!
Oh, and because Meghan has a sweet tooth herself, she also has a brilliant (kind of life changing, if you ask Stacie) tip for thinking about sugar and sweets in her own diet that she picked up while reading The Diet Cults. Listen to find out how she re-programmed her own thoughts about sugar, sweets, and — oh let’s be honest — her diet and weight.
Come out, Come out, Wherever You Are!
No matter what your opinion of sugar or how you choose to share sweet snacks, candy, soda, and desserts with your children, it seems wise that we all be aware of when, where, and how much sugar our kids are taking in overall. And for better or worse, the more store-bought foods they are eating, the more likely they are eating sugar in nearly everything, even in unlikely foods like deli meat and sliced breads.
For Stacie and Meghan, who are both invested in overall moderation, those are the foods they want to target. Because if you ask them (and their kids), they’d rather have a sugar-free turkey sandwich or breakfast sausage and save that sugar intake for something that matters: like a delicious ice cream cone.
Mmmm. Ice cream.
Stacie once published a post on Cool Mom Eats about kid-friendly foods that contain sneaky artificial ingredients and there’s mention of sugar for many of them, too, so you may want to take a look (think sliced bread, instant oatmeal, yogurt, et cetera). If you’re also interested in moderation, we recommend paying attention to the added sugar and overall sugar content of your non-sweet store-bought foods, especially the more processed convenience foods. You may be surprised at how much you can cut down just by selecting brands with lower sugar content. And, bonus, it will never make a difference since these aren’t even your sweet foods.
What We’re Digging
Remember when Stacie recommended White Moustache yogurt? Well, she’s still going strong, eating Greek- or Persian-style yogurt nearly every other day, now with Greecologies Sour Cherry Preserves, a mouthwatering treat from her childhood rediscovered. (Make it over the top delicious by adding candied pecans from Trader Joe’s!)
Sadly, it appears that the Greecologies preserves are sold out, but fear not! Amazon has a Greek brand that Stacie likes. You can also search for “sour cherry preserves” to see if they have other brands for less and/or available via Prime.
This week, Meghan waxed poetic about her kitchen shears. (Stacie gives an AMEN!) If you don’t have a pair, both ladies recommend that you grab one stat. Meghan uses her Oxo Good Grips Multi Purpose Kitchen Shears to do everything from deboning chicken to trimming fresh herbs, chopping salad to cutting up her kids food. Also, they come apart for easy cleaning in the dishwasher.
Try This At Home
This week’s Try This At Home is pretty entertaining thanks to Stacie and Meghan’s first on-air disagreement. It all starts when Stacie boldly proposes that everyone should try cutting sugar out for a week.
Can you guess Meghan’s reaction? (If not, you haven’t been listening long enough. Ha!) But how it all works out is exactly why we love working together so much.
Listen for how Meghan’s NO WAY turns into a productive LET’S ALL TAKE STOCK in how much sugar we’re eating. And that’s exactly what we’ll do and hope you’ll do too.
You don’t have to take action — unless you want to — but just notice: How much sugar do you eat? Do your kids eat? Is it added sugar or natural? Is it hidden in savory, highly processed foods or in sweets? In foods eaten at breakfast, lunch, snack time or for dessert? Etc.
Next week, we’ll be talking to the fantastic dietician and child nutrition expert Jill Castle, who is also the author of many books, including one of our favorites, Fearless Feeding, and we can all re-group on the Didn’t I Just Feed You Facebook page to talk more about what we want to do with the info we collect this week.
Hey! One More Thing!
While catching up this week before diving into a conversation about sugar, Stacie and Meghan quickly referenced the fact that several states have voter registration deadlines coming up ahead of the midterm elections. We promised to include info to help you learn how to register to vote in your state or, if you’re already registered, where to vote and learn more about who’s running in your area.
Vote411.org. This site by the League of Women Voters allows you to enter your address to find your polling place, build your ballot, see the races on your local ballot, compare candidates’ positions, and more.
Voter deadlines on USA Today. They also include some info on how to register to vote.
Rock the Vote. Here you can find your state deadlines, local polling place, and most importantly, your voting rights. These are especially important to know if you’re a first time voter, voting someplace new for the first time, if you’ve just recently submitted your registration, or if you anticipate running into any other issue at your polling site. Here you can learn exactly what you should have with you and what you can say or request on the spot (i.e., same day registration).