Little Sugar Addicts


How can I help my child?

As we discussed in the Problem, the most important issue for these children is keeping the blood sugar from plummeting.   

But what is the best way to do that?

We have a process.  We take it slow.  We do not stop anything right away.  We try not to shock your child’s system, and to introduce dietary change in a way that it sticks, keeps you sane, and allows a “buy-in” from your child.

We break down the process in such a way that it is doable and that making these changes does not make everything harder for all of you. You will hear us talking about “nano steps”  - very small changes made one at a time. By doing the process this way, it actually changes the brain, so there is no need for “willpower.”

What's the process?

The key principle we work with is called “enough, on time”.

Boy In Black ShirtThis is shorthand for making sure that your child’s blood sugar does not drop into a “danger” zone – the place that makes the tantrums or tears or rages come out.

We have found that sugar sensitive kids have highly volatile blood sugar levels, so it is extremely important that we do what we can to help their blood sugar levels stay stable all day.  We do this by making sure that they eat enough food, on time.

This means that kids need to eat a meal or a snack every three hours.  But for many of our parents, even this change sounded daunting.  To make it easier to handle, we’ve broken it into phases.  The key components of Phase I are:

  • Breakfast
  • Snacks between meals 

What's all this about breakfast?

Having breakfast right away is the foundation to maintaining a steady blood sugar level throughout the day. It stops the blood sugar drop that your child’s body is experiencing because they are not eating overnight, and it provides them with a good base level for the rest of the day.

Breakfast sounds easy but often takes some planning with kids. To make sure that kids are getting everything for breakfast that they need to get the best foundation for the day, we break “breakfast” into four parts:

  1. The right amount of protein for the child’s age, weight, and activity
  2. As soon as possible after getting up
  3. With a carbohydrate
  4. Every day  

How do I determine how much protein my child needs?

There are two parts to this

  • figure out the amount of protein your child needs to eat at breakfast, and 
  • figure out how much protein is in the foods your child eats.

The amount of protein your child needs depends on her age, weight and activity level. The formula for figuring out the basic amount based on weight is as follows, but keep in mind that if you have an active child, it is ok to feed them more.  We are trying to avoid them being hungry:    

  1. Divide your child's weight in pounds by half to get the total grams of protein for the day.
  2. Divide that number by 3 (for the number of meals in a day) to determine the amount they need for breakfast.

 So a child who weighs 40 pounds needs about 7 grams of protein at breakfast, as determined by using the formula:

              40 pounds divided by 2 = 20 grams of protein per day

              20 divided by 3 = 6.6 (rounded up to 7 grams per meal)

What are good, easy protein sources?

Simple proteins are the easiest way to start since it is easy to figure out how much is in each serving.

Using our previous example of 7 grams for breakfast, any of the following would work great:

  • a large egg
  • one 8-ounce glass of milk
  • one cheese stick
  • a protein shake with whey protein isolate

Most of our parents do use a shake to start out, and many never quit! It is quick and easy and the possibilities for a tasty, kid-friendly shake are truly endless.  Some kids like chocolate, others like fruit.  Our parents love George's® Restore from our store. It’s microfiltered, has no sugar or additives and is safe for kids to use. (For more ideas on shakes, or to read more about George’s® Restore, visit the Resources section.)

If your child isn't a shake person, it is also helpful to have a few pre-made options on hand for quick breakfasts like breakfast burritos, or leftover casserole. Another easy option is to make "power milk" with milk and protein powder and put it on cereal. Don't use soy protein powders with kids.

What are some good, easy carbohydrates?

Good carbs come in many shapes and sizes. Start with any kind of carbohydrate and see if you can move away from high sugar to whole grain. Encourage your children to find carbs they like. Be creative and get their input. Here are some of the things our parents and kids like:


  • whole grain toast
  • oatmeal
  • bagels 
  • potatoes
  • low-sugar cereal (under 10 grams per serving)
  • fruit

As an aside, many of our parents have found that moving to gluten-free carbs makes a huge difference with their children. 

How soon is "as soon as possible?"

Feeding your child as soon as they wake up will stabilize his or her blood sugar levels right away and will avoid morning meltdowns.  For some of our parents starting out this meant taking their child a shake in bed.  For others, it means once they dress and come to the kitchen.  But don’t wait any longer than 30 minutes.  The longer they are up without stopping that post-sleep blood sugar drop, the more likely it is that they will get into the danger zone. 

And if they have a hard time getting up, it does NOT mean they are lazy. It means they need a snack before bed. It is a clue that blood sugar is even more important for this child.

What happens after breakfast?

And as you continue the process, we have a whole, online Group dedicated to parents like you to help you navigate the best way to start making little changes to meals and snacks. We have information, expertise, and other parents just like you to help. Come over to Radiant Recovery to learn more.