Stop the Sugar! Staying Healthy with Moderation

Have you noticed that children are, well...a lot larger now compared to the past? Can you believe that 14 percent of kids 2 to 5 years old are now considered overweight or obese?!

Of course, many factors contribute to children's weight problems, but nothing compares to sugar. It's not the natural sugars in milk and fruit that are worrisome; it's the sugars added to other foods and drinks. A survey indicates that toddlers 19 to 23 months old consume an average of over seven teaspoons of added sugar each day which is more than the limit that the American Heart Association recommends for 18 year olds. If you believe your child is overdoing sweets here are ways to help them cut back.

The saying, "out of sight, out of mind" can apply to the sugary snacks that we should limit ourselves from. If your pantry lacks mini-muffins, toaster pastries, and bite-sized doughnuts, kids are far less likely to ask for them, it’s that simple! And when your child really just wants a snack, offer alternatives like animal crackers. With only 7g of sugar per serving.

So what is considered healthy? Water and organic low-fat milk. What's not? Soda, fruity punches, sports/energy drinks. Can you believe that a 16 ounce bottle of some drinks contain up to 16 teaspoons of added sugar! With this discovery it has been figured out that sugary beverages are the primary reason of child obesity. “According to a study in Pediatrics, if a child drinks one additional sugary drink every day it increases her chance of being obese by 60 percent! The scary thing is that 44 percent of toddlers and 70 percent of kids 2 to 5 years old routinely drink these unhealthy drinks. It is very important to make sure that sugary drinks are saved for special occasions. ”

One-hundred-percent fruit juice is definitely healthier than fruit punch. But don’t forget, fruit generally contains sugar, too. But, sugar in a cup of juice is more concentrated than in a piece of whole fruit, which means your child consumes way more sugar rather than actual fruity nutrients. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends only a cup of juice a day for all children. However if you are a parent who is against juice or wish to reduce sugar, water is always the best alternative!

The most important thing when discussing eating habits is moderation. Sweets is not something you should prohibit your child from but is something you should make sure is monitored. The easiest way to monitor your child’s sweets intake is to create a rule that makes it clear to the child that he/ she only has a certain time and limit to enjoy sweets. Rules like this make it easier for your child to accept and get used to this healthy lifestyle allowing them to completely forget about these unhealthy foods and drinks.