Many parents feel shame about giving their kids cake or candy and the idea of giving processed sugar became taboo among parents. In this episode of Daddy Squared we went on a journey to find the balance of nutrition for kids and found the “no-shame no-shade” method that will reassure you that your kids eat healthy, but at the same time not depriving them of sugar. We spoke to a nutritionist and a pediatric gastroenterologist, and came up with our own nutrition mix-and-match healthy meal cheat sheet.

Admitting we give our kids “Cake for Breakfast” on the TV Show The Parent Test sparked a conversation around sugar and kids’ nutrition. While we’ve been struggling with this for a while (and even tried to solve it before on our podcast), we were reluctant to deprive our kids of sugar, but instead wanted to find a “magic formula” of a diet that is healthy – but also has cake in it. We think we found it!

“We all deal with the same problems, I come across that on a daily basis,” told us celebrity nutritionist Kevin Libby. “First and foremost, when you’re approaching adolescent nutrition, whether it be toddlers or pre-teens, the number one thing you don’t want to do is assign any punishment or rewards to foods. Otherwise you start creating a life-long negative behaviors around food. You want them to have a good relationship with food, it’s there to nourish them, it’s there to give them energy.”

To further deepen our research, we also found Dr. Matthew Riley, a pediatric gastroenterologist (and a gay dad!) who first of all stripped off the shame around sugar and then told us that there’s no one right food to eat or right way to formulate your diet – so we can start with what our kids eat now, and just add what’s missing and play with the balance of the type of food.

“You really have to go back to what are the building blocks of nutrition,” Dr. Riley explained on Daddy Squared podcast. “And sugar – it’s just sugar, it’s carbohydrate, nearly everything that we eat has sugar in it. So it’s sugar, fats, proteins, those are the three marco nutrions that humans need to survive – whether you want to call it sugar or carbohydrates it’s all the same thing.”

“I think when people say ‘I don’t give my kid sugar’ they are talking about processed sugar or foods with added sugar or food with primary macro nutrions, when you read the label is most or only sugar based. If you look at a muffin or bread, those are full of complex carbohydrates which are all technically sugars as well. So it’s a really bigger issue that gets really over simplified for a lot of people and that leads to an overlay of shaming [in parents].”

Dr. Riley advised us that while the amount of sugar may be a consideration, the better question is what you’re having it with.

“How do you mixing and combining foods together so they are presented in a balanced way,” he said. “Dietitians will talk to you about every meal or snack really, ideally, will be some kind of a carbohydrate-based (grain) item, a protein source and a fruit or vegetable option. And there’s place for candy too! Candy is delicious, that’s why we have it, right? Should that be done in eccess? Probably not, should that be the sole source of your carbohydrates? Probably not, but I don’t think that there’s one right way. You’re looking for the right balance and making sure that that’s part of your diat but not the sole source.”

FREE DOWNLOAD: Daddy Squared’s Meal Plan – Inspired by our conversation with Dr. Matthew Riley

“When you are saving [candy] only to special occasions, jou are just amping up the natural rewards system that exists for us human anyway. What we striving for with kids, is getting not only that balanced nutrition that we’re talking about but also developing the healthy attitude towards food: it’s there to nourish my body and keep me healthy – and sometimes it’s for fun! Sometimes it’s just delicious and we’re having it to celebrate to be with people and mark occasions. But it shouldn’t be these obsessive things, like oh my god these are taboo foods which we give more power to.”

Episode Guest: Dr. Matthew Riley

Dr. Matthew Riley (pictured in a proud moment with his son) is a proud gay dad and a fellowship-trained physician in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. He loves teaching kids and their parents about the inner working of their bodies, including the diseases that affect the GI tract and all of the ways that children and their parents can support nutrition and gastrointestinal wellness.

Episode Guest: Kevin Libby

Kevin Libby (PH2 Nutrition) is a nutritional counselor in Santa Monica, California with over 20 years of experience. He defined his purpose in service by continually adopting best practices in nutritional sciences. His talents for getting incredible results were recognized immediately worldwide. This has translated to numerous physique transformations in Hollywood blockbusters and countless television series’.  His specialties range from difficult weight loss cases, autoimmune and digestive issues, performance athletes to actors/actresses getting ready for a big role or the red carpet. 

Check out the full interview with Kevin:

Men Having Babies Corner

Men Having Babies is a nonprofit organization that helps gay men who are interested in becoming fathers through surrogacy navigate the sea of information and overcome the financial barrier. In this episode, Sara Miller from the MHB staff discuss considerations before matching with your surrogate.

Episode Credits

Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex Maghen
Guests: Kevin Libby, Dr. Matthew Riley
Opening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy here

Connect With Us