I have become a little nutrition obsessed lately. With trying to find natural options for my son with ADHD and hoping to shed some pounds myself, I have been voraciously reading about nutrition. I have come across many great articles, but I have found one must read article for moms about sugar.
I read countless articles and books and watched movies(like this, this and this one) about nutrition, but this article about sugar, by Katie at Wellness Mama, gets my blood boiling and makes me crazy passionate about getting the word out. As Americans, on average, we consume about half a pound of sugar a day. Katie shares tons of startling information about just how harmful sugar can be. She tackles the question of why even eating sugar in moderation is just not the answer.
Truth be told, we are already one of the “weird” families that don’t drink juice or soda or eat cereal. I buy organic, stay away from high fructose corn syrup and toxic vegetable oils. But, I have a sweet tooth and consequently so do my kids. Even with our healthy lifestyle, we are eating too much sugar.
Our family is no way near the 1/2 pound a day norm, but we often teeter very close to the less than 25 grams of processed sugar per day recommendation for kids. 25 grams may sound like a lot…until you start reading labels. A bowl of cereal and a glass of juice will catapult you over 25 grams-and that is just breakfast!
Remember we are talking about processed sugar…so that includes juices and dried fruit- as well as the obvious candy, cakes, and cookies. Fructose from whole fruits and vegetables is not counted in that limit, as whole foods contain fiber, enzymes, and vitamins and minerals that effect how the body processes the sugar.
I could go on and on, but I won’t repeat what Katie says so well in her awesome article(read it today!).
I can share a few of the ways we already keep sugar way down in our family.
- We say,”No, thank you.” to all treats we are offered at the bank, the grocery store, etc.
- We drink water, carbonated water, and unsweetened almond milk-period. (The boys get soda on their birthdays!)
- We limit processed foods to one packaged item per day, in their lunch. Their choices may include organic sweet potato chips, Kids Clif protein bars(or other organic, low sugar bar), Harvest pea crisps, or Mary’s Gone Crackers.
- I bake “treats” as often as possible, using as little sweetener as possible.
- We read labels. My boys look for the sugar content in anything that has a label. They know how bad it is and how it needs to be limited.
- I talk about how food makes us feel and we try to notice any icky feelings we may have after eating not so healthy choices.
Seems like we are already doing really well, doesn’t it? I know my kids probably eat less sugar than the average kid. BUT, we can do better.
Let us not forget all those places that kids are offered sweets-school parties and functions, boy scout meetings, track practice, houses of friends and family, holidays, and birthday parties. Unfortunately, there seems to be a social stigma associated with eating healthy and saying no to your kids. I do not want my kids to always feel alienated or different. So I do cave sometimes and let them eat sugary processed foods.
My hope is that if enough people get educated about sugar, I won’t have to say no so much, because the options will just not be there. At 8 and 10, my boys are not easily convinced that sugar is THAT bad-especially when they see everyone eating it in large quantities all around them. If given the choice, they would eat tons of it, I am sure. But for now, I will keep talking and educating them and making choices that are healthier for us.
If you have not already clicked on the link to Katie’s article do it now and tell me what you think! No doubt you will be blown away by this information and want to make immediate changes.
Please share this article if you know of a mom who would benefit from this information. As moms we really do have the power to change the world-one sucker at a time!!