During the lock-down period we are quite sure many of us have overindulged a little on the “sugary side”, that includes some of us allowing our kids more sugar than before. For those of us who have a “sweet tooth” it is always difficulty to try and avoid sugar, whether it is sweets or desserts and what’s a better treat than sitting on the couch with the kids with a slab of chocolates.
As parents we should set an example and be concerned about the amount of sugar our children get from sugary drinks, desserts, and snack foods. By understanding sugar, it could help us make the correct decisions.
Sugar adds sweetness to food and drinks, and it is a type of carbohydrate. Brown sugar, raw sugar, white sugar, maple syrup, agave, honey, and corn syrup are all forms of sugar. These are often added to food and drinks like pop, some breakfast cereals desserts, energy drinks, chocolate milk, yogurts, and fruit drinks. It is also found naturally in milk, vegetables, and fruit.
According to studies all sugars are the same, honey and raw sugar are not more nutritious than white sugar and all sugars, whether added to food or are naturally found in food, are digested in the same way. It is however best to try and choose foods with naturally occurring sugars, vegetables, and fruit are nutritious and have important vitamins and minerals.
Drinks and foods that are high in added sugars have extra calories and may have few nutrients. Sweet drinks and sugary food can make children feel full and leaves less room for healthy foods. Sugar can lead to cavities in their teeth if they do not brush their teeth regularly.
It is a great idea to try limiting drinks and food that are high in sugar, but children can enjoy sweetened foods and drinks in small quantities, but it is important to offer a variety of healthy foods every day.
Here are a few ideas to help your children eat less sugary foods:
- A scoop of ice cream with fruit or chocolate pudding as a dip for bananas.
- Fruit Kabobs or fruit faces.
- A small amount of juice mixed with soda water as an alternative to sugary drinks or soft drinks.
- Chocolate milk mix with equal amounts of white milk.
- Try homemade baked desserts made with less sugar, keep in the freezer so that there is less chance of buying sweets.
- Try to avoid using sweets as a reward for good behaviour.
For kids, healthy eating ca include small amounts of sugar as it brings enjoyment to eating. Use a little creativity as there are many ways to help children enjoy health eating with less sugar.