The American Heart Association recommends that children take in no more than 12 grams or 3 teaspoons of sugar per day. Given the state of our lives and the processed foods that we can’t seem to escape, this is a tall order by any estimation. Don’t despair though; there are definitely things you can do to minimize your children’s sugar intake.
Focus on Kids Drinks
If your child is showing signs of tooth decay, the first thing that dentists recommend you cut out isn’t sweet candy; it’s kid’s fruit drinks. In truth, some of these concoctions contain not an ounce of actual fruit. Many others can boast only a small percentage, and even the 100 percent fruit juice varieties often have sugar added. Keep in mind that your average 12-ounce no-sugar-added glass of apple or orange juice contains 40 grams of sugar, eight times what is recommended for an entire day for kids.
Eliminating sugary kids drinks in attractive on-the-go boxes should probably be your first step. Then move on to energy and sports drinks, fruit punches, sodas and lemonade. If there are times when you know all too well that your offspring will be drinking sugary juices, add water and lots of ice to dilute the effects.
Make Water More Appealing
If your kids have developed a raging sweet tooth, they are probably less than enthusiastic about the idea of drinking half their body weight in ounces of water every day. Nevertheless, this is the best way to remain hydrated and to give the body what it needs to function at optimal levels.
Although regular purified water can be a somewhat unexciting beverage choice on its own, it doesn’t need to be. Adding the natural juice of a squeezed lemon, orange or watermelon is one way to raise the appeal. Another option is to use frozen fruit just as you would ice cubes. It imparts a genuine but subtle natural flavor that the whole family will love.
Make Your Own Fruit Juices
It’s not for everyone and it can be a bit time-consuming, but juicing is a craze that has taken the nation by storm. Hands down, it’s the best way to get natural, unprocessed fruit and vegetable juices into your kids’ bodies – and yours, too.
Sugar lurks in just about every processed drink or food, making reducing or eliminating it a daunting proposition. When you get discouraged, just keep in mind that your commitment to healthy foods and drinks will lower your child’s risk for lifelong problems such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease. In short, cracking down on sugar is one of the best gifts you can give to your family, whether they like it or not.