kids

Parents Aren’t Always Good Judges of Their Kids’ Sugar Intake

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by Beverly Thomassian, RN, MPH, CDE®, BC-ADM

At Diabetes Ed Services, we are passionate about getting the word out on sugar! We even created a “Joy of Six” campaign, to raise awareness on the health risks of added sugar and the benefits of enjoying less. This awareness is not only important to the diabetes community, but for anyone looking to lead a healthy lifestyle. 

A recent study was conducted in Germany that measured the correlation between a parent’s knowledge of sugar count in food and childhood obesity. Findings concluded that parents who underestimated the amount of sugar in common food products, were more likely to have an overweight child.

In the United States 18% of elementary school age children are obese.

It is almost impossible to monitor a child’s diet completely, particularly with cafeteria lunches and sleepovers. The cause of childhood obesity is complex but one thing is clear; too much added sugar and obesity are strongly correlated. 

The study suggests that parents can help children stay at a healthy weight by addressing their sugar consumption.

Start by setting a sugar goal for the family. The World Health Organization and American Heart Association recommend up to 6 teaspoons a day (or 24 gms) of added sugar. The entire family is encouraged to read labels, to stay on target and reduce added sugar consumption.

One strategy that can help, “parents (can) sweeten foods themselves. “Mix natural yogurt with fruit,” Dallacker says. “Parents who do this would hardly feel compelled to add 11 sugar cubes.”” 

Learn more – “Parents Aren’t Good Judges of Their Kids’ Sugar Intake” by The New York Times

Learn more about sugar intake, ways to avoid sugar and how to spot hidden high sugar offenders with our “The Joy of Six” resource page.

Download the Sugar Rush app from Fooducate to see how much sugar has been added to your food. Just scan the bar-code of any product and instantly see a breakdown of naturally occurring and added sugar. 

Snacking Smart

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by Malu Trehan

Snacking among children has gone up by 27% since the 1970’s, trending towards having three snacks a day.(1) Kids are opting for more salty and sweet snacks over dairy and fruit. This kind of consumption can lead to excessive caloric intake and sabotage a child’s weight and overall health. Poorly timed snacks can exacerbate the problem leaving the child with less of an appetite for her nourishing main meal.

That said, snacks can be a great addition to children’s diets and can fill the nutrient gap for their growing bodies. It can also help moderate excessive eating at mealtimes. Here are a few ideas on how to prepare healthy snacks.

Protein, Fat, and Fiber

Make sure your snack provides all three. Protein and fiber add satiety. A cracker by itself for example won’t give that feeling of fullness but a cracker with a slice of cheese, meat, or nut butter with a side of grapes will. Sources of protein are meat, beans, nuts, milk, yogurt, cottage cheese and cheese. Healthy sources of fat are avocados, nuts, seeds, and olives. Fiber can be found in beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

Time snacks appropriately

A snack eaten half-way between breakfast and lunch, and another one between lunch and dinner can help tie your child over without ruining her appetite. You want your child to come to the table hungry. They are more likely to eat the meal you prepared and will be less fussy. School-aged children need about two snacks a day while teens need one or two. If they participate in sports, a well-timed snack before practice or in the evening is perfect.

Looking for snack ideas? Try these!

  • Smoothie made with frozen berries, banana, yogurt and milk

  • Celery sticks with cream cheese or nut butter

  • A cup of vegetable soup

  • Carrot sticks and pita wedges dipped in hummus

  • Guacamole and whole grain crackers with a side of fruit

  • Yogurt* layered with berries and rolled oats or granola.

*Look for yogurt with less than 2 tsps of sugar per serving (4g = 1 tsp of sugar)