Sugar. You probably consume more than you think. I used to. Apart from the obvious sugars like in chocolate, sweets, biscuits, cake, and soft drinks, hidden sugars are the trickier ones to quit. A handful of dried fruit? Full of sugar. Drizzle of honey on your morning yogurt? Another dose of sugar. That ‘healthy’ muesli bar on the go? Yes, you got it, full of hidden sugars. It’s important that we educate ourselves on what contains hidden sugar, different forms of sugars, as keeping in mind that even if it’s in it’s natural form like honey, maple syrup, or molasses, these should be treated as treats. More important, eaten sparingly, especially for your children. Kids, whose intake of sugar is higher than normal, not only have higher chances of tooth decay, they also have an increased risk of diabetes, obesity, and behavioral problems. Children are growing individuals. We need to educate them to make empowered choices at a young age, so when they are older they are already informed about nutritional food choices. The American Heart Association recommends that children aged 4-8 eat no more than 3 teaspoons of sugar a day. But the scary truth is they’re consuming more than 7 times that amount!
The type of sugar to learn more about and to try to minimize in our diets is fructose. Why? Here are a few reasons to get you started.
1- Fructose passes directly to our livers and promotes fat storage.
2- Fructose can only be processed by the liver, which puts immense strain on this organ.
3- Fructose is addictive
4- Fructose makes us eat more. It messes up our hunger hormones grehlin and leptin, leaving us feeling hungrier.
I know how hard it is as a parent to consistently try to get your kids to eat healthy. Especially if and when their peers around them don’t. I think the best advice I have to offer is always start small. Offer them fresh fruit instead of sweets. Fresh fruit is full of water, fibre, and nutrients. Cut down on their cereal because most commercial cereals are loaded with sugar. Make smoothie ice creams at home instead of commercially made ones, so you control the ingredients. Cut back on ready made fruit juice and squeeze your own using a higher ratio of vegetables than fruit, such as spinach and cucumbers. Start to offer the juice as a treat instead of a usual beverage. The easiest way to teach children not to rely on sugar in their diet, is to lead by example. If it’s not in front of you and your kids, you most likely won’t crave to eat it. So clear your cupboards of convenience and processed food, load up on fresh fruits and vegetables in your fridge. And always remember, it’s good to indulge now and then, but when we do, we should do it mindfully. And really enjoy it.
Your month recipe: Triple C Fritters
- 2 eggs
- 50g spelt flour
- 1 tbsp milk
- 2 small courgette, grated
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 2 tbsp corn
- 50g cheddar cheese
- Pinch of salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp oil
- Preheat oven to 200°.
- Beat the egg in a bowl and mix in the flour and milk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients.
- Heat the oil in a oven proof pan.
- Add the mixture to the pan, cook on the stove for around 3 minutes u till the edges start to show.
- Then place it in the oven for another 10 minutes until cooked through.