Friday, September 30, 2011

Giving Sugar the Boot: A Better Alternative for Kids

By Vianesa Vargas

Sometimes the neighborhood grocery store is no place for parents looking to buy healthy kids snacks for their kids.

Grocers have doubled the amount that moms had to contend with several years ago.

Now we're bombarded by conflicting messages about sugar, and at the store, you become even more confused by the packaging that proclaims the food to be "100% Natural" or "High fiber," and don't forget an all-time favorite, "Supplies 100% of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin C!"

One can't imagine mothers purchasing food like this 20 or 30 years ago, but then, many kids ate enough sugar to fuel them during active childhoods--which is very different today.

According to Erik Fisher, PhD and the author of The Art of Empowered Parenting: The Manual You Wish Your Kids Came With, sugar jump-starts the metabolism and adds energy for approximately 30 minutes, followed by a crash afterwards. Children can become dependent on this cycle and crave more sugar throughout the day. Fisher believes that refined sugar isn't something children need for survival, and points to a large amount of research concluding that sugar can have a negative impact on the body.

The good thing is that kids can be easily "tricked" into eating less sugar, while still having a great-tasting snack.

Keep these tips in mind:

1. Strictly avoid soda-soda has absolutely no place in a child's diet; phosphoric acid, caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, are poor-quality food ingredients for kids

2. Make your own brownies, cookies, and cupcakes-avoid those pre-packaged items you buy in the store; you need a good pair of bi-focals to read the ingredients in some of these food snacks

3. Don't waste your money on kids snacks-the same snacks you eat can be down-sized for your kids; save your money by buying in bulk and separating into kid-friendly sizes

Above all, as a parent, "walk the talk." Buy the best groceries for your money, prepare the family's lunches and eat dinner as a family. These positive influences go a long way towards establishing healthy eating patterns for your family.

No need to scare your children away from sugar, instead, teach them that a little sugar can go a long way!

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