Fed Up Back-to-School Challenge

Once you see Fed Up and learn the truth about sugar, we know you’ll be just as Fed Up as we are with the state of our food environment. We are facing the greatest public health crisis of our time and the future of our nation depends on all of us taking action in our homes, schools, communities and workplaces.

The Fed Up Challenge is a national campaign to break loose from the sugar industry’s powerful grip – with a particular focus on kids and schools! We’re asking individuals, kids, schools, parents and communities to join us in going sugar free for 10 days. Giving up sugar will be tough because sugar is everywhere and we all crave it, but setting that kind of healthy example for your kids is all the inspiration you’ll need to get through.

Below you will find tips and resources to help you with the Fed Up Challenge as well as information specifically design for families and kids!

Katie, Laurie, Stephanie, and the Fed Up Team


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Find Fed Up on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and tag #FedUpChallenge to share your own experiences. We’ll share and support you along the way!

Launching in May 2014, along with the release of Fed Up in theaters, over 65,000 people joined Katie, Laurie and the Fed Up team on a 10-day Challenge to go Completely Sugar Free! To kick of this school year on the right foot, we are challenging you to GO SUGAR FREE FOR 10 DAYS by launching the Back to School Fed Up Challenge! Start by cutting sodas and other sweetened beverages and foods that have ADDED sugars. EAT real, fresh, whole foods and lay off all products that contain added sugar including honey, molasses, agave, etc., and all liquid sugars, such as sodas, bottled teas, fruit juices, and sports drinks. This includes all artificial sugars and sugar substitutes.
No exceptions, so don’t ask! Artificial sweeteners slow your metabolism and make you crave and eat more food. Also, be aware of foods that may have hidden sugars, like yogurts, canned foods, spaghetti sauce, and ketchup. Watch for hidden names of sugar. Also try cutting out all flour products that turn to sugar in your body.
It sounds tough because it is tough, but we will pull each other through and then end up feeling so much better. Here’s to a happy and healthy school year!

Did you know that sugar has the same addictive properties as tobacco and alcohol? The more sugar you eat, the more you need to satisfy your craving. The withdrawal, which includes symptoms of crankiness and lethargy, is often the hardest part. Unlike cigarettes, the warnings against the addictive powers of sugar are virtually non-existent. Sugar can be found in an alarming amount of foods, and half of it is hidden by calling it one of its 56 other sneaky names, it can be hard to determine exactly how much sugar is in any particular product.

Question: How long will it take for me to feel a difference?
Answer: If you cut out all added sugars, you will start to feel better in 1-2 days. Cravings may persist for 1 to 3 weeks.

Question: Are all sugars bad?
Answer: Natural sugars in fruit are fine (but not fruit juice). Added sugars and artificial sweeteners are worse because they increase hunger. See the 56 hidden names for sugar. Stay away from all of them.

Question: How can I tell if a product has sugar in it?
Answer: Read all of the ingredients on the Nutritional Facts label and keep your eyes peeled for added sugars. Look for ingredients like: corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrate, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup and table sugar.

Question: Why is sugar added to food?
Answer: Sugar is added to food for one reason only. To make it taste better and make you eat more of it. It is addictive and when you consume too much you want more and which makes you buy more of the food industry’s products. Better for them. Bad for you.

Question: Should I go cold turkey?
Answer: The best way to cut your sugar cravings are to cut out all sugar at once. Otherwise you keep triggering the addiction center in the brain. This is easier said than done, so don’t give up if you slip up.

Question: How Much Sugar Can I Eat?
Answer: The American Heart Association recommends no more than the following amounts of sugar per day (note: that the Fed Up Challenge asks you to cut out all added sugars during the 10 days)


Get SocialDr. Marky Hymand
Get SocialDr. Nicole Avena
Get SocialDr. Robert Lustig

Resources for more medical and nutritional advice

Harvard School of Public Health: Nutrition Source
Dr. Mark Hyman’s “The Blood Sugar Solution”
Robert H. Lustig’s, “Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease”
Dr. Nicole Avena’s “Why Diets Fail (because you’re addicted to sugar)”
Gary Taubes’ “Why We Get Fat”
Dr. Marion Nestle’s “Food Politics”Dr. Kelly Brownell’s “Food Fight”
Dr. David Kessler’s “The End of Overeating”
The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren Dr. Daniel Amen, and Dr. Mark Hyman

Cookbooks, Recipes and more!

The Family Cooks by Laurie David
Fed Up Pinterest
Dr. Mark Hyman’s “The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet”
Dr. Mark Hyman’s “The Blood Sugar Solution Cookbook”
Dr. Robert H. Lustig’s, “Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper’s Guide”
Dr. Robert H. Lustig’s “The Fat Chance Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes Ready in Under 30 Minutes to Help You Lose the Sugar and the Weight”
Whole Kids Foundation Recipes
Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution”
Kids Cook Monday’s Sugar-Free Brownies
Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food”
Tal Ronnen’s “The Conscious Chef”
Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything The Basics”
Julia Child’s “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking”
Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s “Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week”
Deborah Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”
Cook’s Illustrated Magazine’s “The Best 30-Minute Recipes”
Bryant Terry’s “The Inspired Vegan”
Douglas McNish’s “Eat Raw, Eat Well: 400 Raw, Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipes”
Douglas McNish’s “Raw, Quick and Delicious!: 5-Ingredient Recipes in Just 15 Minutes”
Alexandra Zissu’s “The Conscious Kitchen: The New Way to Buy and Cook Food – to Protect the Earth, Improve Your Health, and Eat Deliciously”
Terry Walters’ “Clean Food: A Seasonal Guide to Eating Close to the Source with More Than 200 Recipes for a Healthy and Sustainable You”
Meghan Telpner’s “UnDiet: Eat Your Way to Vibrant Health”
Sugar Savvy
Josh Besh’s “My Family Table”
Quinoa with Asparagus and Shitakes
Savory Bread Pudding
Potato and Chorizo Tortilla
Halibut Baked in Parchment + Tarragon Pesto
The Daniel Plan’s 10 Tips for Your Faith Community


Louie’s Kids
Whole Kids Foundation
How sugar affects the brain – TED-Ed – Nicole Avena
Super Sprowtz
Jamie Oliver
Kids Cook Monday
Family Cooks Productions
Chef Ann Foundation


The Edible Schoolyard Project
How sugar affects the brain – TED-Ed – Nicole Avena
Super Sprowtz
Revolution Foods
Kate Adamick’s “Lunch Money”
The Lunch Box
Super Sprowtz: Using the educational power of media to help children learn about nutrition and wellness



Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Workplace Toolkit
Bon Appétit Management Company


IFM Fed Up Challenge Tips for Practitioners
IFM Fed Up Challenge Tips for Patients
The Institute for Functional Medicine


Getting students interested and excited about healthy eating habits can be a challenge. Here are some tips to help students and teachers with The #FedUpChallenge

  1. Encourage kids to bring a reusable water bottle to school: Ask students to keep a reusable water bottle at their desk and encourage them to choose water over sugary drinks.
  2. Fill up on Fiber: Educate students on the importance of fiber to a whole and real food diet! Children (and adults) often don’t realize that processed foods take the fiber out and add the sugar in. Encourage them to opt for healthier fiber filled snacks like whole fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables: Many classrooms do not allow students to eat in the classroom. Make an exception for fruits and vegetables!
  4. Eat a Rainbow: Including as many naturally colorful food items into a meal or snack is a fun and creative way to get kids to eat real food! Make sure students know the difference between artificially colored foods and naturally colored foods.
  5. Start a School Garden: Grow herbs on the window sill. It’s really important for kids to see that food doesn’t come from a grocery store. A school garden is a great way to incorporate lessons in math, geography and teach kids where food comes from.


The Fed Up Challenge for Families Courtesy of The Kids Cook Monday Cooking meals at home is a great way to keep an eye on how much sugar your family is eating. Getting kids involved in grocery shopping and meal preparation helps them learn more about making healthy choices and will equip them with the skills they’ll need to continue to eat healthfully as adults. Here are some tips for participating in the challenge as a family:

  1. Declare your home a whine-free zone. Be clear that going fully sugar-free for 10 days is a short-term experiment to help your family learn more about sugar. Designate a chalkboard or large piece of poster board as the place to showcase all the healthy and delicious things you’re enjoying instead of sugar. Every time anyone complains, they have to add something new to the list!
  2. Take a family outing to the grocery store. Spend some time looking at the foods you usually buy and read their ingredients labels together. Do you see sugar or hidden sugars on those labels? Brainstorm the types of products you might buy instead. For example, instead of sweetened yogurt, give plain yogurt and fresh berries a try.
  3. Create a healthy snack box. Together, decide what your go-to healthy snacks will be, such as low-fat string cheese and fruit. Then, fill a box in the refrigerator with your new favorites and declare it the healthy-snacking zone. Take the opportunity to talk to your kids about the difference between snacking out of hunger versus snacking out of boredom.
  4. Commit to cooking together. Getting their hands dirty in the kitchen one of the best ways for kids to learn about making healthy choices. Commit to cooking together at least once a week and enjoying family meals together as often as possible by taking The Kids Cook Monday Family Dinner Pledge. By taking the pledge, you’ll sign up for The Kids Cook Monday newsletter, which delivers an easy, healthy recipe and other fun tools to help the whole family enjoy the cooking process every week.
  5. Celebrate with a healthy options. When you make it through the 10 days of the challenge, don’t celebrate with an all-out sugar fest. Instead, select a healthy no-sugar recipe, and cook it together. As a family, talk about how occasional treats like this can be part of your healthy diets.
  6. Keep the challenge going. To help your family keep their sugar habits in check long-term, consider making the challenge ongoing. Since Mondays are the days people are most open to making healthy changes, challenge your family to go sugar-free every Monday. At dinner that night, ask each family member what healthy foods they chose to eat instead and if the challenge helped them learn about any new products containing hidden sugars.


Most adults spend the majority of their day at their office or workplace, consuming a minimum of one meal there. Changing the food environments at the workplace is paramount to the success of the Fed Up Challenge.

  1. Breakfast & Lunch Meetings: If your office frequently hosts breakfast or lunch meetings, make sure they are healthy and sugar free meals (with protein).
  2. Take a proper lunch break: It is easy to make eating at the desk a lunchtime habit. Make sure to take a proper lunch break and enjoy your food, encourage your colleagues to join you. Disrupting meal routines often forces people to skip meals or bring pre-made and processed foods.
  3. Hydrate the healthy way: Beverages don’t have to be sugary to keep you hydrated and satisfied. Keep a reusable water bottle at your desk and reach for water rather than soda or juice.
  4. Start a health and wellness group: Involve your colleagues and employees in the health and wellness and invite them to join a group or office committee. As a team, investigate the current food and meal trends in the office and brainstorm ways to improve.
  5. Promote health & wellness: Encourage coworkers and colleagues to keep informed about personal health and wellness. Work with your health and wellness group to put up educational and nutritional posters in communal areas.
  6. Swap a Recipe: Use your co-workers as a resource. Encourage people to swap and share healthy and easy recipes that can be brought into the workplace.