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Cutting Sugar from your Child’s Diet

Looking for ways to reduce the amount of sugar in your child’s diet? We have you covered!

High fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose. No matter what you call it, sugar is one of those ingredients that’s almost impossible to avoid. For some reason, it seems foods marketed towards children are especially loaded with the sweet stuff. Reducing the amount of sugar in a child’s diet is just as beneficial as it is for adults. In fact, in a study done by researchers at the University of California-San Francisco and Touro University, obese children who were put on a low-sugar diet saw positive changes in diastolic blood pressure, weight, bad cholesterol and improved glucose tolerance in only ten days. Take a good look at what your children are eating and remember the American Heart Association recommends children consume less than six teaspoons of added sugar per day, that’s roughly 25 grams.

One of the most obvious ways to reduce the amount of sugar in a child’s diet is to simply not bring it in the house. Unless your child is incredibly advanced, they can’t go to the grocery store on their own and pick up junk food, so you are completely responsible for how much of it they consume. This can be rather tough, especially if you struggle with a sweet tooth of your own but if you are trying to teach your children that sweets are a treat and should only be eaten occasionally, it doesn’t make sense to keep some in the house. Instead, take a walk now and then to your local ice cream shop, or spend a weekend day baking goodies to give to friends and family. This is a healthier relationship with food, and it’s great to teach it as early as possible. Keep healthy snacks, such as fruit, on hand instead.

Read labels! It’s shocking the amount of added sugar you can find in food that’s marketed as healthy. Get familiar with the different names of sugar so you can spot it in some of your favorite foods. Chances are you will find some things you and your children have been eating have contributed substantially to the amount of sugar you consume in a day. With a little research, you can typically find alternatives that are much healthier or if possible find recipes of your favorite foods and make them yourself. Cooking your food puts you completely in control of what eventually goes in your body.

Get rid of sugary drinks altogether. Juice boxes are the quintessential drink for children, but they are probably the worst choice of beverage. When you realize how much sugar is in what your child drinks you’ll see that it’s almost as bad as giving them a serving of cookies and really falls under the category of a treat. Instead, make water the beverage of choice and skip the unnecessary sweet.

Be consistent and honest. Develop a healthy relationship with food in your children by educating them on what’s good for them and what is not. Explain it to them in terms they can understand. For example your child knows that an apple tastes great, and ice cream even better, but if they want to have the energy to play and have fun, they should choose an apple and leave the ice cream for a “sometimes” food. Don’t eat junk food randomly, but establish specific times where it’s okay such as after dinner or on the weekends. Stay positive and eventually, your child will be able to make good food choices on their own without even thinking about it.

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