Our kids are growing up in a world full of sugar, and it’s in everything and in every form. We may walk proudly down the supermarket aisle and think we are doing our due diligence by reading labels, but sugar can take on some other names that can leave us unknowingly fooled. High fructose corn syrup in our kid’s “nutrition” bars, maltitol in their yogurt snack, brown rice syrup in their bowl of cereal, and the list goes on.
When you look at your kids’ daily sugar intake, you can’t ignore the “aka sugars.” Recognizing those names takes some detective work on your end. The worst offenders are those with a high glycemic index. That’s because those foods cause a rapid blood spike in sugar and a rapid increase in insulin. Our kids react to sugar and can result in them walking around lethargic, lacking concentration, having even more sugar cravings and even leaving them susceptible to diseases like diabetes.
Names for Sugar
- Maltodextrin, maltose, dextrose may sound like something other than sugar but they are all actually forms of sugar with a very high glycemic rate.
- Black strap molasses and maple syrup, while being better on a nutritional level (both contain more vitamins and important minerals than refined sugar), also rate high on the glycemic index.
- And those that sound so very innocent like Barley Malt Syrup and Brown rice syrup are also, you guessed it, sugar by another name.
This means that the battle of sugar intake has just taken on more soldiers! We at 'The List' are here to help in your fight against it!
7 Ways to Get Your Kids off The Too-Sweet Track
- Juice needs to go: high grams of fructose are just the jolt kids don’t need. Replace it with a splash of juice in their water.
- Check out Stevia: Stevia is a plant-based sugar that can be found at health food stores and supermarkets and has a lower glycemic index. Use it for baking and sweetening homemade ice tea and lemonade. It’s a zero on the glycemic index!
- Bake more at home: Even if you use a mix, instead of 100% from scratch, you can control how much sugar you are directed to add by replacing white refined sugar with healthier choices such as applesauce or xylitol (a healthy sugar alcohol).
- Have your child eat a meal or healthy snack just before they get a treat: This will accomplish two things: They will eat less of their sweet snack, resulting in less of a glycemic spike, thanks to the combination of foods.
- If they are of reading age, let them read an article on sugar (print this one!): Sometimes, statements that come from mom or dad don’t get taken as seriously as if they came from another voice—one they don’t hear all the time.
- Give kids a say in when and what sweets they will eat: It is inevitable that they will have something sugary, so let them decide what that “one treat per day” will be and at what time they want it—hopefully it won’t be before 10am!
- Eat less sugar yourself! If cakes and cookies are not in the house, they will be less tempted to eat sweets. If you are crunching on a carrot as an afternoon snack, they may just mimic you—as they often do!
For more on kids’ healthy nutrition, check out poshmom.com.