{ It’s no secret Sarah Wilson has declared war on sugar to make life healthier and happier for everyone. At the same time, she’s been growing her publishing empire – this time into the kids’ playground. }

It’s no secret Sarah Wilson has declared war on sugar to make life healthier and happier for everyone. At the same time, she’s been growing her publishing empire – this time into the kids’ playground.

Sarah’s certainly dishing up the sugar-free goods. This celebrity journalist, author, blogger, wellness coach, sugar quitter and gluten-free champion stepped onto the international stage with her New York Times bestseller book I Quit Sugar. Following her bestselling series of ebooks, and her hugely successful 8-week Program for sugar quitters, more recently she has penned the I Quit Sugar Kids Cookbook, to help parents keep their kids off the sugar rollercoaster for good.

Say goodbye to sugar-related highs and lows, and hello to delicious birthday party treats. Her new book also helps keep kids happily gluten free. Sarah talks candidly with Yum.

Why a kids’ sugar-free cookbook?

I have loads of friends with young kids and I’m godmother to one as well. Being around kids makes me all the more concerned that how they eat now will define their health and wellbeing in the future. I’ll be getting my hair cut, buying loo paper at the supermarket or climbing out of my local pool and a parent will come up to tell me how deeply concerned they are about their kids’ eating habits and the way sugar is impacting their health and behaviour. Sometimes they’re in tears, totally fed up and feeling like failures. It brings me to tears. I wanted to help make the sugar-free message more palatable for parents.

Give us your top 3 substitutes for sugar when it comes to treats kids love?

The key is to give them whole foods and nothing out of packet. I tend to whip up healthy versions of foods that kids know and love. My Sugar-free Nut-Ella, Bounty Bars and Oreos always go down a treat with little humans. When choosing a sweetener, I only ever use Stevia or rice malt syrup, in small doses.

When packing our children’s party bags, any tips for some sugar-free delights we could include?

We’ve got a host of great party recipes in the Kids’ Cookbook. A few of my favourites include Dino Cookie Bites, Oreos and Chocolate Crackles. In saying that I’d definitely include some non food-related goodies, too. The less emphasis placed on food at kids’ birthday parties the better.

Can you reveal 3 top tips and tricks to encourage children to eat nutritiously and sugar free?

1. Be honest: Tell them in simple terms that you want them to be healthy so they can grow big and strong. Don’t demonise sugar but explain that eating too much of all the sugary packaged stuff will make them sick.

2. Make food palatable: Bulk out their meals with loads of densely nutritious vegies. You can do this by hiding it in purees, mashes and homemade sauces. You’ll be filling them up and stabilising their appetites so they’re not hankering for a sugary treat.

3. Get them involved: Have the kids help you in the kitchen with simple things like mixing and stirring. They’ll be far more inclined to eat something they’ve helped make.

What in your opinion are some of the hardest foods for kids to part with when it comes to saying ‘adios’ to sugar?

Soft drink is a big one. The stuff gets kids hooked early and it’s almost an instantaneous rush, sending their blood sugar on a rollercoaster, which they can’t control. There are also those hidden sugars in foods you wouldn’t necessarily suspect like tomato and BBQ sauce (both contain up to 50% sugar!). They’re often so used to eating meals with it that they struggle to enjoy them without it.

Which sugar-containing foods do you think are safe to keep in our children’s diets on a daily basis?

I don’t think any foods containing excess sugar should be in our kids’ diets. However I do believe that two serves of low-fructose fruit, like strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and kiwi fruit, in its whole form – never juiced or dried – a day is fine to include. All the other sugary guff has zero nutritional value and should be discarded from all kids’ diets.

How did you road test the recipes for your latest book, I Quit Sugar Kids Cookbook?

We took it straight to the kids. We asked friends and family to try out the recipes on their own children and see if they passed the test. We got an overwhelming response of the kids loving the food and being none the wiser about just how healthy the recipes actually were. You can see some of our favourite shots on our instagram account @iquitsugar.

For those who don’t know, what are some upsides of going sugar free? And what about some downsides?

For some you may experience weight loss and most say they feel less bloated. For me, most of my weight loss didn’t occur until after I’d completed the 8-Week Program and my appetite had completely recalibrated. Other upsides include clearer skin and you’ll notice your mood and energy levels stabilise. You’ll no longer be riding a rollercoaster of emotions every day and you’ll be able to focus your energy on the tasks at hand. In the long term, there are no downsides to cutting out sugar. However, during the initial eight weeks you may feel a bit headache-y, tired and moody. I promise you, once you get passed those initial few weeks it gets so much better.

What in your opinion is the most unsuspecting sugar containing food/drink?

Fruit juice – but the drinks you need to watch out for are the flavoured waters, sports drinks and tonic water. They’re all brimful of sugar, some more so than a can of cola!

Not every sugar quitter gets it right the first time they go cold turkey… what are their most common blunders?

Lapses are a natural part of quitting sugar. In fact they are a necessary part. We cover this in detail in the 8-Week Program. Often people will cave in and gorge on the stuff and then feel lost and unsure as to whether they need to start the process again. My answer is simple. Get back on the horse, learn from the experience and keep going. This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.

What’s your favourite snack to keep hunger at bay?

Coconut oil. Whenever I’m feeling like something sweet or I notice I’m starting to become unsettled between meals I’ll have a spoonful and it’ll diminish my cravings almost instantly.

Can you please describe a typical day in the life of Sarah Wilson?

There is no typical day! Right now I’m juggling a few projects, as well as the launch of our third online program with my team at the I Quit Sugar office. Most days are broken up with tv or radio commitments, and commitments to charities and sustainable food projects I’m involved with. This is why I’m such a big fan of having a morning routine. It’s the only bit of normalcy in my week.

In addition to being a sugar quitter, I understand you’re also gluten free… Tell us why you started this journey?

I am. I have to be, for my autoimmune disease. I have Hashimotos disease, which is a disease that attacks the thyroid. Staying sugar and gluten free help me keep the disease at bay.



More Articles in this Category