8 Ways to Limit Sugar in Your Household
By: Shirley Plant- Nutritionist- Dietary Consultant
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Recent statistics say that one in four children considered obese. Many factors have lead to this; reduced exercise, time spent in front of a computer or television, but I believe that sugar is at the top of the list. Preschoolers consume on average 10-12 teaspoons of sugar a day and adolescents up to double that amount. A 20 oz bottle of coke contains 65 grams of sugar, which is equal to 16.5 teaspoons of sugar. This can add up to be over 250 pounds of sugar a year your child or adolescent is consuming.
You may be thinking to yourself that your child is thin, so they must not be eating that much sugar, but fatty liver disease can be present in thin and fat people. ‘Diabesity’, the new name for people who are both obese and have diabetes is rampant in North America.
Children with ADHD and those on the Autism Spectrum usually crave sugar and when you remove it from their diet a significant change for the better is noticed with their behavior. The problem is we have become a fast paced, pre- packaged society and have gotten into the habit of rewarding our kids with sugary treats— does this sound familiar? “I’ll give you a treat when we get home if you just behave for a while longer.” “ Just finish your green beans and you can have some candy.”
A sure way to see how much sugar you and your child are consuming is start reading labels. Eighty percent of pre- packaged foods contain sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, which in high amounts is toxic to our bodies. Crackers, bread, soft drinks, salad dressing, pasta sauce, cookies, yogurt, juice all contain added sugar. Sugar goes by many names; barley malt, beet sugar, caramel, corn syrup, dextrose, cane sugar, fructose, high-fructose corn syrup, maltose, maltodextrin, molasses, sorbitol and lactose to name a few.
Here are 9 tips to reduce sugar in your child’s diet-
1) –Don’t buy junk food- if it’s not in the house they can’t eat it. If there are store bought mini muffins, cookies, chips, doughnuts and candy in the pantry, they will reach for it and think it the norm.
2) – Start to read labels and don’t buy foods that are loaded with sugar. Ketchup, barbeque sauce, canned soups and dressings all contain extra sugar. Why not make your own homemade soups, and salad dressings.
3) – Forget the juice. Serving your child a glass of juice is like shooting them up with sugar. Opt for pure filtered water with a slice of lemon, orange or a strawberry in it. Most children are dehydrated and have lost their taste for water as they are so used to sweet juice. You may have to wean your child off juice slowly by watering it down a bit and then simply replace it with pure water
4) – No more soft drinks- each time your child consumes a sugary pop or beverage it increases their risk of obesity by sixty percent.
5) –Stop rewarding with treats. This is teaching children that sugar is a good thing and is healthy. Reward with a healthier option like going to the park to play, reading their favourite story for a little longer, putting on their favourite music or simply take the rewarding out of the mix.
6) –Try making healthier treats like nut based cookies or muffins with no added sugar—sweeten with fruit only.
7) – Keep healthy snacks around. Hummus with veggies, fruit with seed or nut butters, a piece of cheese, sliced avocado with mandarin slices or air popped popcorn. Why not make a healthy smoothie instead of ice cream after dinner. See recipe below.
8) – At birthday’s and holidays make your own homemade cakes and treats and half the amount of sugar a recipe calls for, you will be glad you did.
9) –Reduce ‘your’ sugar consumption— if you are eating it they will want it as well. No need to explain yourself to other parents. If they want to feed their kids sugar laden foods and increase their risk of diabetes and obesity so be it. Remember you are not depriving your child, you are keeping them healthy
Try these easy healthy recipes with your kids
1 small banana
1 cup unsweetened hemp milk or almond milk
1 tbsp pure cocoa
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp hempseed
Handful of ice
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy
Banana Avocado Pudding- great for toddlers
1 small banana
1 -2 tbsp hempseed
A little water
Mix all ingredients well in a blender or Vitamix until smooth and creamy
Banana Date Oatmeal Cookies
3 ripe bananas
1 cup dates, pits removed and chopped
½ cup walnuts
1/3 cup coconut oil or safflower oil
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
In a bowl mash bananas and add in all other ingredients. Let mixture stand for 20 minutes to let oats absorb moisture. Shape into rounds onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 375F for 20 minutes.