Oh Sugar! It’s everywhere isn’t it? I am trying to reduce my family’s overall sugar consumption and everywhere I look there is sugar. We just finished up back to back weekends full of parades, festivals, and picnics. My kids are getting really good at recognizing junk food, but they are just like every other kid. They like sugar. I keep catching them with suckers from the parades in their mouth. Shhhh…………don’t tell them, but my husband pitched the rest of them this morning. It’s not just the parade candy though, there has also been cookies and fair treats. Enough is enough.
I don’t mind an occasional treat, but as I’ve talked about before, there are treats everywhere. Everyone wants to give my kids a treat. Maybe it’s because they are so sweet? Maybe, but I want to keep them sweet and sugar is not the way to do that.
Some of my concerns about sugar:
- It makes kids’ brains go crazy. I think they call this reduced brain function.
- Sugar actually makes you feel like you need to eat more and we all know there is a childhood obesity problem in this country. I don’t remember worrying about my weight when I was a kid and I don’t want my kids to have to either.
- Sugar contributes to Type 2 Diabetes.
- Sugar promotes inflammation which can lead to a whole host of physical problems.
- Sugar can also lead to headaches. It sure is hard to concentrate on schoolwork with a migraine.
If you share my concerns and are wondering how you can reduce your kid’s overall sugar consumption, you will be interested in these ideas I have to reduce overall sugar consumption.
1.Don’t go to parades! I am kidding, but some thought should be given to how you handle these sugary situations. Let them have some candy or the whole bag? Maybe a couple of days or just one treat? Sugary situations happen all the time. I have a friend who switched dance schools because she was tired of her daughter getting sugary snacks after each class. My friend was sending her daughter to dance class to exercise and develop a love of dance, not to celebrate every Tuesday with a treat.
2.Read Labels! If you buy packaged foods, you know that different brands can have very different amounts of sugar in them. Flavored yogurts, granola bars, and cereals are the biggest offenders. You may be able to reduce sugar just by changing brands. I now buy plain yogurt and we eat it completely plain sometimes or flavored with fruit, nuts or granola.
3.Know where sugar hides! It’s OK to eat sugar when you are having a treat, but how do you feel about eating sugar when you are eating vegetables? Some canned vegetables, beans, spaghetti sauces, breads, hot dog and hamburger buns, lunch meats and even medicines contain sugar. Add that sugar to the sugar you know the kids are eating and you can see how the amount of sugar your kids consume can very quickly add up.
4.Get rid of sugary drinks! I promise it won’t kill them. Sure, they will complaina lot at first (I think that is in their job description), but they will get over it and it will be the new normal. Offer them only water and milk. There is absolutely no reason for them to be drinking sugary sodas and juices. This is likely the #1 source of added sugar in your house. You may want to check out my earlier Weekly Challenge posts on this subject. Check out Part 1 and Part 2 for added help and information.
5.Reduce their tolerance to sweets! Ever hear someone say, “Wow! That is too sweet”. Did you think they were crazy? They might be crazy, but not for the too sweet comment. They likely have reduce their tolerance to sweets. When you cut out processed foods which contain sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and crystalline fructose……..you too can reduce your tolerance to sweets. Instead of foods needing to be sweeter and sweeter to taste good, you will be happy with foods that have much less sweetener or that are naturally sweet like strawberries without added sugar.
6.Eat more fruit! Offer your children more fruit. Leave a bowl of fruit on the table or have fruit chopped up in the fridge so that when they are sneaking their snacks, they are grabbing naturally sweet fruit instead of sugary snacks.
7.Bake more often! They are still kids and will want their treats. It’s nice to offer your kids a nice home-baked cookie on occasion. When you cook it yourself, you know what you are putting in it. I like to use only natural sweeteners like honey and real maple syrup in my baking. I can tell you……….1/4 cup of honey is more than sweet enough for me. I’m sure those factories put a heck of a lot more sweetener in their cookies than I do. I’m not trying to get you addicted to mine like they are. I don’t have a lot of time to bake so when I do, I try to put some sweets in the freezer. It just helps me to be able to Juggle Real Food and Real Life.
Now it’s your turn…………Do any of these ideas help you? What are you doing to reduce your family’s overall sugar consumption? Leave me a comment and let’s get the conversation going!
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