The Shake On Sugar: Reducing Sugar in Your Child’s Diet
With the start of a new year, boy are we glad to have those holiday sugar-laden finger foods and desserts gone! The last few months of the year have a way of bringing lots of them into our homes from parties, holiday meals, and seasonal additions at the grocery store. During this time, its nearly impossible to choose all healthy foods, for both the kids and us adults!! And I don’t know about you, but I HATE to throw food away. I think of all the people in the world that have nothing, no food at all, some of them right here in our own neighborhoods, and it literally makes me sick to my stomach to throw perfectly good food away… so alas, the pies and cakes get consumed by someone in my household if I can help it. Additionally, once we move away from the holiday season, there’s Valentine’s Day right around the corner! The sugar train never seems to derail!
We can’t always helicopter our children’s diets, especially when grandma takes them for ice cream! And honestly, there’s no need to. The occasional sweet is perfectly fine. It’s when we consistently allow sweets as a part of an everyday diet that we can find ourselves enabling an unhealthy diet for our children and simultaneously incurring a steep dentist bill. I think the goal is to view sweets as truly an occasional treat, and avoid everyday candy or having a dessert every night of the week. Just remember, holiday sweets count as occasional treats too, so don’t double dip during those times.
So, how to we get back to “normal” again and set some limitations in our homes to encourage a healthy diet for our children and for ourselves?
So, how to we get back to “normal” again and set some limitations in our homes to encourage a healthy diet for our children and for ourselves? Courtney Hines, a KinderCare nutritionist says, “Small children have small stomachs. You want them to fill up on nutrient dense foods, not empty calories like sugar. When children eat lots of sugar, they get used to overly sweet flavors and might start to reject other flavors that are part of a well-balanced diet.”
Point-in-case, my children LOVE yogurt. Yogurt, especially kiddy yogurts, have a TON of sugar. My bad! Recently, I wanted to switch them to something a little healthier, so I purchased several boxes of Siggi’s kids yogurt with less sugar for their lunches. They have literally refused to eat them. They just don’t like them, and it’s because they are so used to having the sugar-laden yogurt that I’ve previously bought for them. Ladies, Courtney is right… once we open that door, it’s hard to close it again.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following guidelines for growing little ones: no added sugar for children ages 24 months and under, and less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day for children 2 to 18 years of age.
Oh boy, what a reality check! I’m pretty sure I’ve failed at this advice a number of days… but it can be done. Here are a few tips for lowering sugar consumption that may just come a little easier than you thought:
Once you’ve grown accustomed to reducing sugar, you will notice that most foods and beverages are overly-sweet. The long-term health benefits of reducing sugar range from better brain power… to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and a healthier heart… to warding off type 2 diabetes and possibly even cancer and dementia.
For more information and facts related to this issue please visit the link below and learn about the many reasons we should all be serious about taking control of our consumption of sugar. Let’s aim to teach our children the main purpose of food: to fuel their growing bodies with wholesome goodness! Why? Because we love them. And because they love us, we should return the favor by taking care of our own.