The Skin-E: The "Sweet" Side of Eczema
What kid doesn't love sugar? Mine most definitely do!
One of the things I've had to limit in my daughter's diet, due to her Eczema, is sugar. I noticed fairly early on, that if she consumed too many sugary foods, she would definitely have a flare-up. It didn't happen immediately, but over the course of several hours. I never looked up the science behind it, I just began to limit her intake. Later, I discovered it's due to the increase in insulin; and insulin can result in inflammation.
Now, we all know how hard it is for adults to avoid indulgence (If you tell me I can't eat an entire bag of potato chips from time to time, we are officially enemies!!)...imagine the pain in childhood. I do a pretty good job keeping her in check when she's in my care, but imagine school birthday parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Season, Valentines Day, and a plethora of fairs, movies, trips to visit "The Grands," etc where sweet treats are readily available. Here are a few tips I've found that help my child keep her sugary cravings at bay:
Keep Fruits Readily Available. Sure, I know to a child, an apple is no substitute for a cookie, but at least the fruit can fill up those tummies and provide a little of the sugar they're wanting.
Say No to Soda. I have succeeded in making my children love flavored seltzer water (and in the process, so did I). We drink this instead of soda, and it's GREAT.
Sugar Free Gum/Candy. I keep sugar free gum in my purse. When my daughter asks me for candy, she is totally satisfied if I offer her a piece of gum instead.
Read Nutrition Labels. Many processed foods have a ton of hidden sugar in them. Make sure to educate yourself by checking out those nutrition labels while grocery shopping. Most of the time, you can find an alternate that has far less sucrose if you take the time to look. Popsicle's are an excellent example of this. If you find the one's made from 100% fruit juice (or make them yourself), it's much lower than the one's containing high fructose corn syrup.
Educate Your Child. I can't shout this enough. Make your child aware of things that can trigger a flare-up. Remember, they are the one's that are suffering and it's never too early to equip them with the knowledge to avoid their triggers.
Don't Eliminate...Moderate. Although I try to keep her away from sugar, I don't eliminate it completely. My thinking behind this? Well, if I cut it completely out of her diet, that may cause her to binge when she has the opportunity to have it elsewhere.
Although these tips are simple, you would be surprised at how much they help. Every now and then, I get the "face of disappointment" when I utter the words she hates to hear ("NO, not today hun"), but in general, she has been a trouper when it comes to regulating her food choices.
OK...I've shared my tips with you, now it's your turn. What tips do you have for reducing the amount of sugar in your child's diet?