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Did you know that according to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the average American (this includes children) consumes 270 calories of added sugar each day? That’s an astounding 17 teaspoons of sugar.
It’s one thing to have a cookie here and there, it’s another to eat the entire box. Parents need to be mindful of what their children are eating on a daily basis. Keep track of sugar intake because too much can cause health problems. Teach your child
the importance of a balanced diet, and, most importantly,
lead by example, so you and your child can start living a healthier lifestyle.
Here are some easy ways to help tame your child’s sugar cravings.
Skip the Soda
Soda has an estimated 39 grams of sugar in one can – that’s more than what the American Heart Association recommends you should have in a day. Consuming other sugary drinks, such as sports drinks, should be limited (if consumed at all).
Cut the Cookies
If you buy cookies and candy, your children are going to eat cookies and candy. Be mindful of your snack choices when food shopping. Stock up on healthier alternatives.
Don’t Treat Sweets as a Reward
“If you eat your dinner you can have a bowl of ice cream.” This is what you should not do. If you tie sweet treats in with eating as a reward, your children will get the wrong message and think that sweets and desserts are the important dishes they
should be eating. Instead, mark a dessert night once a week on the calendar and allow everyone to enjoy their favorite treat.
Make sure you’re not feeding your children too many foods with added sugars, which refers to sugars and sweeteners added to a product (not found naturally). Added sugar doesn’t have any nutritional value and can cause health problems, such as tooth
decay and obesity.
Make Sure Your Child Has a Balanced Diet
Your child should be eating whole fruits, a wide variety of vegetables, whole grains, protein, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. The USDA offers guidelines to help with creating a perfectly balanced plate to keep your child healthy.
Allow Sweets in Moderation
Cutting something like sweets out of a diet doesn’t always work. This could lead to overeating when snacks are allowed. Allow your child to pick their favorite treats and let them enjoy those snacks in moderation. If you decide they can only have
three cookies a week, don’t allow them to have more than three. This will teach your child to control the food they eat, without denying them an occasional sugary snack.
Lead By Example
As mentioned previously, your child models their behavior after you. If they see you eating a bag of chips or a super-duper sundae, they are going to want to eat those things too. You should follow the same food rules that you set for your children.
This will lead to a healthier lifestyle for everyone.