Read This Later - Click Here

These days, we know what a slippery slope sugar can be. The more we have it, the more the body craves it, and too much added sugar in the diet (at any age) can lead to serious medical issues ranging from cavities to weight gain and even diabetes. It can seem like sugar is in everything and impossible to avoid, but you can do it with a little bit of effort.

Starting your child’s diet off on the right foot can help them develop a taste for more nutritious options instead of running for the junk foods. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a little sweetness now and then. Here are our tips for keeping your child’s sugar consumption in check for every meal and snack.

  1. Learn your sugar lingo.
    While sugar is traditionally made from either sugar cane or sugar beets, there are other forms of sugar and sweeteners added to pre-packaged foods. High fructose corn syrup, dextrose, cane juice and nectar are all forms of added sugar you may see on the label of a product. If you are purchasing anything processed or pre-packaged, be sure to read and compare labels to find the best option.
  2. Up their greens.
    Adding more green foods to the diet can reduce cravings for sugar. Raw, roasted or sauteed, you can offer greens in so many ways, but one way kids can learn to love them is in smoothies. Combine spinach or kale with fresh fruits in a blender — the natural sugars in the fruit will provide that sweet taste while sneaking in some greens.
  3. Make your own flavored waters.
    Soda and bottled juices can have almost an equal amount of sugar in them. Try making a flavored water at home by adding sliced fruits and herbs to water in a pitcher and letting it sit overnight in the refrigerator to infuse the flavor.
  4. Get them into the kitchen.
    Your child will be more excited about eating whole, unprocessed foods if they get to be involved in the preparing of their meals. Give them simple tasks, let them touch and smell the food,  and they’ll feel a sense of accomplishment once the meal is done.
  5. Rethink food as a reward.
    It’s all in how you sell it. Treats for good behavior don’t have to be candy or ice cream. Kids will learn to cherish any food you make a big deal. If you present a piece of fruit as dessert, you’re already changing how they look at it.
  6. Introduce new flavors.
    When cooking and preparing meals and snacks, tickle their tastebuds with different foods and also spices and seasonings to keep them interested.

Limiting your child’s sugar intake has a positive ripple effect. They’ll sleep better and have more stable energy without the constant highs and lows of fluctuating blood sugar levels. This also means a better attention span with less hyperactivity. Not to mention the wealth of fresh food they’ll be open to eating that provide vitamins, minerals and other vital nutrients to support their growth and development. Let food be thy medicine, as they say.

Cutting down on sugar doesn’t have to be hard, and the earlier you start with this the easier it is for both you and your child. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have one well-rounded eater on your hands.

Read This Later - Click Here