Every parent has experienced it: your child goes to a birthday party or another event where sweet treats are available. Next thing you know, they overindulge on sugar, and now you have to deal with the aftermath! But there are ways to help kids recover after a sugar overload. Today I share 5 of my top tips.
Watch the video or continue reading below to find out more about ways to help kids recover from a sugar overload.
5 ways to help your kids recover from sugar overload
Get them back to eating wholefoods asap
This tip might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how quickly taste preferences can change. Some kids have one sugar binge, and then takes ages to get back to accepting natural wholefood flavours.
The best way to help them get back to normal is to focus on protein, good fats and vegetables, and take it easy with the sugars and starches. Protein is found mostly in animal products like meat, fish and eggs, but also in nuts, seeds and legumes. Healthy fats include olive oil, nuts and seeds, butter, coconut oil and avocado.
A lot of mums struggle with breakfast choices – so many of our typical breakfast options are carb and sugar heavy. Eggs are an easy, tasty option – think scrambled eggs on wholemeal bread, or omelettes with cheese and tomato.
But if your kids are used to breakfast cereal and won’t touch savoury options, you can still include wholefood options. Try using homemade porridge, muesli or granola.
Dose up with probiotics
Sugar can damage the good bacteria in the gut, letting the opportunistic bad bacteria get a hold in the digestive tract. And if you’ve seen any of my previous posts about the gut, you know gut health is essential for happy, healthy kids (and adults!)
So to counteract the effects of sugar, we want to boost good bacteria in your child’s gut. The quickest way to do this is with a probiotic supplement.
You can get an over-the-counter option like Inner Health Plus – I recommend a few days of double the recommended dose, then reduce it to the recommended dose. Or if you’re working with a practitioner, they can access high-quality probiotics for you to use.
Fermented foods are another great option for getting probiotics into your kids. Yoghurt is often the easiest option – go for a plain yoghurt, and add in your own fresh fruit, nuts, seeds or even a little honey.
You can also introduce the kids to other fermented options such as kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and pickled carrots. A little goes a long way with fermented foods.
Boost up their immunity
Sugar can deplete the immune system by slowing down neutrophils, the first line of the immune defense. But we want kids to have a strong, healthy immune system – especially going into the colder months.
There are a few ways you can boost immunity and counteract the effects of sugar:
- Increase antioxidants in their diet. Antioxidants are mostly found in bright, colourful fruit and veggies. So encourage them to eat a rainbow of foods.
- Boost up vitamin C and zinc. You can do this using a powdered supplement, or using food.
Vitamin C is found in most fruit and vegetables, but is highest in foods such as red capsicum, strawberries, citrus fruits and kiwifruit. It is a heat-sensitive nutrient, so eating them raw is the best choice.
Zinc is found in foods such as pumpkin seeds, red meat, seafood and eggs.
- Include probiotic sources. We talked about these in the last tip, but probiotics also support immunity as well as gut health.
- Get them out into the sunshine. This increases their vitamin D, which is important for a strong immune system AND a regulated immune system.
Try including bitter foods
This is the trickiest tip – it’s easier to say than to do! But bitter foods and herbs stimulate digestion and detoxification. The liver deals with any kind of overload in the body, so you want to encourage the detoxification process.
Bitter options include:
- Greens such as broccoli and kale
- Lemon and lime juice
Some kids like bitter foods – but most don’t. Nettle comes in tea form, and has a mild grassy taste, so kids might be ok with it. You can also hide the bitters with other flavours – try adding small amounts of greens to a smoothie or make a parsley pesto to put over a main meal.
There are tinctures such as Swedish bitters, gentian or dandelion root. But they can be tricky to get kids to take.
Another great thing about bitters is that they can reset the palate after too much sugar. Bitter is the opposite taste of sweet, so it’s like rebooting the tastebuds.
Focus on hydration
Sugar can dehydrate the body and make it more acidic. So we want to alkalise the system by rehydrating it after a sugar overload.
Water with a little bit of lemon or lime juice is a great choice if your kids like it. Another great option is coconut water – it has electrolytes to aid with rehydration, and is a little bit sweeter.
Make sure you’re reminding your child to drink regularly. And while you’re at it, grab yourself a glass of water too!
Want to learn more about including wholefoods into your child’s diet? Make sure you check out my free ebook, 8 Essential Wholefoods For Kids. This not only covers wholefoods to include in their diet, but tips and tricks for introducing these foods to kids. To get yourself a copy, click here.