“Mamma, I love that ice cream! Let me choose the most delicious flavor”.
“These sprinkles on the donut are so yummy”.
“I love chocolate chip cookies and they taste divine with sugar dips”.
These extracts are borrowed from the everyday life of our quick-witted youngsters. Do they sound familiar?
Most children seem to love sugar naturally as such sweet stuff administers energy with a heightened sense of taste. Celebration or not, children are always ready to pick up those fizzy drinks, sweets, lollipops, chocolates, ice-creams etc. At other times, adults buy such items for them in the name of love or reward.
What is the problem with added sugar?
Added sugar is the sugar that is combined with foods or beverages during their preparation. It is different from the natural sugar that is derived from fruits. Unfortunately, foods that are high in added sugar are low in nutrients.
The sweet evil provides an easy ingress to empty calories. Extra calories are stored as fat in the body. The unhealthy weight gain due to sugar-sweetened foods is the main reason for childhood obesity and high BP. Other health risks include type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep disorders and liver problems. Apart from giving NO health, sugar actually drains out nutrients from the body that are used to metabolize it.
Other ways sugar can be detrimental in kids are:
- Suppresses the immune system
- Causes hyperactivity, anxiety, drowsiness in children
- Interferes with the absorption of Calcium and Magnesium
- Upsets the body’s mineral balance.
If your children back on a sugary diet more than fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, it is time to give your food a serious thought.
WHO journals indicate that it is not necessary to have even an ounce of sugar in the diet. We may not be able to implement this wisdom due to the determinants of taste and lifestyle patterns. Yet, it is essential to recognize how much sugar is hidden in our foods and how to avoid it.
How to sidestep the Nutritional Robber from our kids’ diet?
First, we need to identify the forms of sugar hidden in processed foods. The healthiest form of sugar is ‘white sugar’. Other than this, be aware of the ingredients such as Lactose, Glucose, Fructose, Maltose, Invert sugar, Glucose syrup, Raw sugar, Molasses, Golden syrup, Sucrose, Maple Syrup, etc.
Ways to avoid sugar
- Let your refrigerator breathe with the greens and colors of fruits and vegetables instead of high-sugar junk foods. Set an example for the kids.
- Lure kids with healthy food: Pack attractive shapes of healthy colorful food in their lunch such as cookie-shaped sandwiches, rows of carrot and green beans, etc.
- Nibble on healthy snacks in between the meal times like fruits, cheese, eggs, nuts so that their energy stores remain full.
- Include complex carbohydrates in the diet like whole grains, beans, peas that are high in nutritional content.
- A daily dose of B Vitamins, Chromium, Manganese and Zinc can help with sugar cravings. It is found in foods like Broccoli, nuts, mushrooms, pineapple, whole wheat, spinach.
- Natural thirst quenchers, not soda pops! Give your kids fresh fruit drinks when they feel thirsty. They are high in vitamins and keep them satisfied much longer.
Avoiding added sugar for kids is a way to implant health. Take the stride.