5 tips to stop sugar from sneaking into your diet
Do you realize how easy it is for sugar to sneak into your child’s diet without you even realizing it? A cup of chocolate milk for breakfast, a fruit yogurt as a snack and a piece of candy, and your child has already exceeded their daily recommended amount of sugar.
The American Heart Association recommends that children should consume less than 6 teaspoons — or 24 grams — of added sugars per day. The experts also caution that children and teens should limit their intake of sugar-sweetened drinks to no more than eight ounces weekly.
Did you know that a 16oz cup of 2 percent chocolate milk has 12 teaspoons – or 48 grams of sugar; a 6oz cup of strawberry Yoplait yogurt has 18 grams of sugar and a standard 52.7 gr Snickers bar has 27 grams of sugar? If your child had all three of them in one day, they have consumed 93 grams of sugar. That’s almost three times what’s recommended.
Jamie Portnoy, a registered dietitian with Advocate Children’s Medical Group, offers the following five tips to keep sugar out of your child’s diet:
- Don’t bring junk food into the house. If your pantry is filled with candy, cookies, mini-muffins and anything that contains added sugar, then your kids are going to be more likely to go and grab what is easily accessible to them – the sugar.
- Keep healthy snacks, such as fruits and vegetables, within reach. Cut up fruits and vegetables and have them readily accessible in the refrigerator for your kids so they can go and grab “healthy” snacks and not be tempted to grab “sugar.” Also, out-of-sight, out of mind, says Portnoy. Give your kids some fun, healthy snacks such as:
- “Ants on a log” – celery, peanut butter and raisins
- Carrots with low-fat ranch dressing
- Peppers and hummus
- Cucumbers and low-fat Italian dressing
- Apple with Laughing Cow cheese
- Eliminate sugary drinks completely. Have your kids drink more water. Milk is another great option! Avoid chocolate milk, fruit juices and soda.
- Re-think sweet treats. If our child really needs something sweet, think of frozen fruit, pudding or Jell-O as a sweet treat alternative. Portnoy recommends the following sweet alternative:
- Cut grapes in half and freeze them
- Serve strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream
- Freeze a mashed banana – it will taste like banana ice cream!
- Aim to get enough sleep. When we are tired, we often crave foods that are not good for us and generally go for foods like sugar. A recent study found that the sleep deprived individuals consumed an average of 385 extra calories per day.
About the Author
Sonja Vojcic, health enews contributor, is a marketing manager at Advocate Health Care in Downers Grove, Ill. She has several years of international public relations and marketing experience with a Master’s degree in Communications from DePaul University. In her free time, Sonja enjoys spending time with her family, travelling, and keeping up with the latest health news and fashion trends.