Why is it that everyone wants to give my kids sugar? They go to the doctor and are rewarded with a lollipop. They go to a birthday party, experience a sugar fest, and then are sent home with another bag of candy as a party favor. Aunts, Grandmas, family and friends want to give my children “sweets” of all types as a gift or a present. I'll admit: I'm as guilty as everyone else. Sometimes it feels like the easy way out — thankful that my kids are at least eating something (even if it's not my first choice meal). But at the same time, there would be no fight if the child were taught proper eating from the beginning.
Have you ever looked at the side of the so-called "food" we are giving to our children and counted the total grams of sugar in a day that are consumed? In the morning, a glass of juice can loaded with upwards of 29 grams, pancakes with are swimming in syrup. Then off to lunch where my son's squeeze yogurt is bogged down with added sugars; his pre-packaged fruit snacks are just as bad. And the list just continues. Some children will consume hundreds of grams of sugar each and every day.
Lets truly think about sugar. When mom is pregnant and trying to eat healthy, “hundreds of grams” of sugar are not on the “good to eat list.” When looking up diets and weight loss you never encounter a diet centered around consuming sugar. That would not be healthy, so why create this diet for our children? Carbohydrates are secondary to sugar as they are mostly converted to sugars in the system, and the number one food source next to sugar for children is carbs (bread, muffins, bagels, macaroni and cheese, cheese by itself, crackers and other processed foods). A diet of carbs and sugars is doing nothing more than stunting the overall potential growth and ultimate health of the child.
My three-year-old is already addicted to sugar and I am hoping there is a fighting chance for my 5-month-old daughter. Yes, we all live through the first decade of life eating more sugar than any other food group, but does that mean it is the right choice? There are no studies for me to call up, but could you imagine children that ate 100% healthy from day one? I imagine that would lead to fewer diseases, longer livelihoods and better learners.
As a dad to 7 children I encourage all of us, myself included, to try to change our ways, and the ways of others to eliminate sugar and processed foods from not only our diets as adults, but to also give our children a new outlook on life and help them learn the importance and values of healthy eating and living.
Do you limit the amount of sugar your children are allowed?