So what's the big deal if my kids are eating sugar? The big deal is that we are predisposing their bodies to suppressed immunity, chronic disease, childhood obesity and potential early diagnosis of Type II Diabetes simply by the kinds of foods/sugars we serve them or give them permission to eat. Individually we now consume as much as 4 pounds of sugar in one week than we would have in the entire year 1700. Sugar shows up in almost all processed foods and is many times masked as High Fructose Corn Syrup. When it's in nearly everything we eat, no wonder our children are born addicted...even infant formula contains sugar. This is a recipe for doom in regards to the health of our children, this next generation being the first who will not outlive their parents. The question now is, are you going to continue to educate yourself on healthier choices for the whole family or continue on the downward spiral toward ill health and costly medical expenses?
Getting our kids off their daily sugar intake may feel like a daunting task, yet I bet you are the one most concerned about this transition. In my experience, kids can experience lethargy, headaches, gut aches, constipation and dehydration due to their sugar intake. What is happening here is a blood sugar crash (lethargy/headaches), a bacterial imbalance (gut ache/constipation), and dehydration (hello soda, "power" and fruit drinks). The quick list of substitutes for sugar laden foods/products below to use for both yourself and your children will help you navigate new or forgotten about options.
These substitutes will just get you started and are based upon basic food habits of someone eating the SAD (Standard American Diet).
Instead of: Fruit Snacks
Try this: Real dried fruit, such as apricots, prunes, dates, and currants. These are all very sweet and can be purchased in bulk for packing into lunches or for individual snacks.
Instead of: Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn
Try this: Air popped fresh popcorn with sea salt, real butter (NOT margarine) and 2 T. maple syrup.
Instead of: Soda
Try this: 100% real fruit juice (3/4 c) with mineral/seltzer water (1/4 c) for a refreshing homemade spritzer
Instead of: Pop-Tarts
Try this: Whole grain toast spread with cream cheese and 1 T of your favorite jam
Instead of: Chocolate Chips
Try this: Carob chips (use as you would chocolate chips), can be purchased at natural foods store, Whole Foods or a co-op.
Instead of: Cinnamon & sugar on white toast
Try this: Whole wheat toast spread with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon
Instead of: Sugared cereal for breakfast
Try this: Whole grain cheerios with a smoothie made with 1c. whole milk plain yogurt, 6-7 frozen strawberries, 1 banana, 翹 cup orange juice
Instead of: Cookies
Try this: Thinly sliced apples with thinly sliced cheese...a nice blend of sweet and salty.
Instead of: Handi-snacks (those cracker and block of fake cheese combo things)
Try this: a handful of whole grain crackers next to a handful of freshly sliced real cheese.