Sugar is EVERYWHERE. Even if you don’t eat dessert, most Americans eat much more sugar than the recommended amount to maintain a healthy diet.
Most children eat far more sugar than parent’s ever realize. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans eat the equivalent of 62 (2 1/2 pound bags) of sugar a year. Can you believe that!
The impact of eating too much sugar is we have a society where 1 out of 3 kids are obese, health problems are on the rise and children’s behavior is more problematic than ever before in history.
How do you manage the level of sugar that you and your children eat?
It is true you can’t control all of your surroundings, but there are certainly some easy things you can do to decrease sugar consumption without anyone in your family knowing it.
13 Tips To Easily Decrease Sugar Consumption
Tip 1: Drink mainly water, versus any other type of drink. Kids can easily pick up this habit, as your body is made of water and meant to drink water.
-Avoid any sodas, chocolate milk, fruit mixes, fruit drinks for kids, sports drinks and dilute real fruit juice with water when you have to drink it. We drink a very small amount of fruit juice in our home; most days we don’t have any. (Juice is highly concentrated and loaded with sugar. We are not meant to drink a huge glass of juice.)
Tip 2: Avoid buying any processed foods. Almost all processed foods have sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup in the ingredients.
-If you go to Costco (which I love many of their natural products) be careful buying any of the processed or pre-prepared foods. Look at the ingredients and you will be amazed on how much sugar is in the main course, not to mention the chemicals! Just refuse to buy these items and you will decrease sugar consumption that your family ingests.
Tip 3: Be careful buying things like “smoothies,” or frozen yogurt. Many of them contain a lot of sugar in them. People are deceived thinking they are drinking something healthy, but in actuality they are drinking as much sugar as if they had a dessert.
If you make these items yourself you can make them without sugar. If you buy them, ask what ingredients they use to make them. If they use any syrups, you know they are adding sugar.
Tip 4: Change your belief about kids having to eat every sweet treat they are given.
We use our candy canes to decorate our tree for example. (In our family we don’t eat anything that has food coloring in it.) We talk about certain candies they get at birthday parties and trade trade them in for healthier options.
I buy YummyEarth natural lollipops that are more natural and don’t have chemical food coloring. I let the kids trade candy from a birthday party for example for a healthier version. They love it.
Speaking of birthday parties, you can ask for a small piece of cake. If you have three birthday parties in one day, your kids don’t have to eat a piece of cake at each party. It is amazing to me that often the mom’s don’t eat the cake but they let their kids eat it from party to party.
Tip 5: Make sure your kids are eating whole grains every day. Whole grains are healthy and they help balance blood sugar for the times they are given sugar.
Tip 6: Buy jellies that contain no sugar. (Most of them are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup) Peanut butter and jelly is so widely eaten with kids, and if you refuse to use jelly made with sugar or corn syrup you will go a long way.
The peanut butter and the jelly tastes JUST as good without sugar. It is beyond me why all brands don’t adopt; other than the fact is we wouldn’t feel addicted to it.
Tip 8: Make your own granola cereal, whole grain scones or whole grain muffins for your kids in the morning. This is a huge decrease in sugar for the day and packed with nutrition. Hence the concept of my whole blog!
If your kids eat healthy cereal or a healthy breakfast every morning that doesn’t have sugar in it, you will be greatly decreasing sugar consumption and increasing the nutritional level. See healthy breakfast ideas
Almost ALL processed cereal that you buy in the store contains corn syrup or sugar; even many of the so called “healthy ones.”
Tip 9: If you feed your children healthy foods, in my opinion vitamins are not needed. However, if you want to give your kids vitamins, be sure to give them vitamins that are not loaded with sugar and food coloring like so many of them are.
Tip 10: Make your own condiments and/or buy them from places like Whole Foods. Things like catchup, mustard, salad dressing, barbeque sauce, and mayonnaise are loaded with sugar if you buy them at a “regular store.” You literally can not taste the difference if you look at the ingredients and buy these products without it.
Tip 11: Buy whole grain breads and look at the ingredients Many breads that are marketed as being “healthy” have sugar in them and very little whole grain. This is true of sliced break, hot dog buns, English muffins and hamburger buns.
Tip 12: For us moms, avoid drinking lattes and mocha’s as the syrups are loaded with sugar and chemicals. (Some of these drinks have up to 500 calories in them too!)
Tip 13: Avoid drinking wine at night, except on special occasions. Wine is loaded with sugar; and worst yet alcohol slows your metabolism making it difficult to burn the sugar that you have already eaten.
Sugar consumption is cumulative. You can’t control every exposure your child has, but if you decrease how much sugar that you and your kid’s consume with the following tips, you will feel great, less moody and will find your kid’s responding positively.
Besides, when I do eat sugar or when I give my kids sugar, I would far rather enjoy a piece of Belgium chocolate than getting that same amount of sugar from the catchup or barbeque sauce that was on my chicken burger. Wouldn’t you?