Cod Liver Oil

Treat Boxes for Sugar-Free Kids ๐Ÿ˜

When my oldest started kindergarten, he had not been exposed to all that much refined sugar or artificial food dye. We were an organic, home-cooking kind of family that avoided gluten, sugar, and pasteurized dairy and most of our friends ate the same way. If we went somewhere where there would be food we couldn’t eat, then we brought something. This was our norm.

Our “norm” changed when Ben started school and he was exposed to sugary, processed food on a daily basis. We sent him with a packed lunch and snacks full of wholesome food choices, but were overwhelmed by all the school celebrations.

In my opinion, it is far trickier to keep kids away from sugar and artificial dye (Red #40, Yellow #5) than to keep them from gluten or dairy. The fact that we didn’t eat sugar, dyes, gluten, OR pasteurized dairy didn’t help matters. I struggled with how to communicate to the teachers that we wanted our child to eat healthy and how could they support him in a way that he did not feel excluded when foods were served that we didn’t want him to eat.

At first, I did not say anything. I watched him come home with a blue tongue from the popsicles handed out at recess. Or, get off the bus licking a green lollipop from the bus driver. One evening we attended a performance his class put on at school and we noticed that the teacher gave each child a Hershey kiss for standing in line so straight and quiet. I knew that the homeroom teacher kept her desk drawer filled with m&m’s and kit-kat bars to reward kids for this or that. On Fridays they had ‘movie day’ and ate microwaved butter with popcorn and bright red kool-aid.

I talked with other parents who were of like-minds and met with the principal and individual teachers about how to handle the amount of sugar and processed food offered to kids at school. We asked them “why are kids receiving artificial colors and sweeteners in a learning environment?” – foods known to cause an array of health issues such as attention deficit disorder and diabetes. We brainstormed on ways to help those kids who could not (or whose parents did not want them to) eat that kind of food to not be excluded from their peers. We had lengthy conversations, but the changes we hoped to see in place were never made. Many of the other parents ended up pulling their kids out of the system to home-school or pay for alternative education.

All the while my son was coming home full of sugar. There seemed to be an endless stream of birthdays and holidays and rewards given in the form of sweet. If I knew about an event ahead of time I’d send a cupcake he could eat or a special treat. But more often than not I didn’t know what was happening or when.

I watched my son becoming more hyper by the day and turning up his nose at previously loved naturally sweet desserts we had always enjoyed together as a family.

After a few weeks I came up with the idea of making a Treat Box; which is basically a Tupperware container filled with shelf-stable treats that can be offered to choose from at a school celebration. We decorated that box and filled it with fruit leather, chia seed bars, 50 cent pieces, bundles of fruit-sweetened gummy bears tied with a ribbon, stickers, stevia chocolate, xylitol gum, cookies made with lakanto, bags of salty almonds, packets of roasted nori, and other trinkets. 

The next day we brought his Treat Box to school. The teacher agreed to keep it in the classroom closet and bring it out on special occasions for him to choose something. My son loved his box and even came home one day excited to tell me that his friends wanted one too ๐Ÿ™‚ I may not have been the teacher’s pet but I felt understood enough about our dietary values to go about my own day knowing my child was not running with the extremes. 

Now, when there is a celebration or treat at school that is full of sugar or gluten, I know that he has the Treat Box to choose from. The teacher lets me know when it needs to filled or added to for more variety.  This box has given me peace of mind and been a true life-saver, knowing my son is enjoying something special alongside his friends. 

A blessing in a box! I bring my own treats for my kids when we go somewhere but I didnโ€™t think about giving the teacher a treat box for them. Thanks for another great idea!!! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ ~ A.S.

Snacks for Kids on The Body Ecology Diet

Basil Pesto (dairy-free & kid-approved)

Lakanto, a healthy sugar substitute

May all bellies be happy!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Treat Boxes for Sugar-Free Kids ๐Ÿ˜

  • Shirley Carpenter

    Tara, it is fun to see your fantastic childhood imagination evolve into the world of being equally creative in the world of food allergies. I am so proud of you growing so beautifully in this area. You are helping others learn skills and build confidence as they chew away (ha!) at their own food issues.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2016 - 2018 Happy Bellies. All Rights Reserved. Created by Blog Copyright.