Eating too much added sugar is linked to a host of health problems like a weakened immune system, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Many parents wonder if raising kids sugar free is healthiest. Some also wonder if it’s even possible.
It seems like everything is packed with sugar, especially foods marketed towards children. Sugar even hides in many foods that you might not suspect. Without a trained eye for reading food labels, you may never realize how much sugar your kids are eating. Here are our thoughts and tips about creating a meal plan for kids with little or no sugar at all.
Is a Sugar Free Diet for Kids Necessary?
Not only can the relationship that children have with sugar lead to health problems down the road, but it’s also blamed for tooth decay and behavior problems. Furthermore, eating too many sugary foods leaves less room for nutritious fruits and vegetables!
It’s important to know that not all sugar is created equal. Foods with naturally-occurring sugar, such as fruit, don’t have the same harmful effects as other types of sugar. It’s the processed foods with added sugar that you want to look out for to limit daily sugar intake for kids. Added sugar is usually listed on a nutrition label as:
- Granulated sugar (this is white or table sugar)
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup
- Fruit juice concentrates
- Malt syrup
Advice on children and sugar from the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that kids ages 2 to 18 consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day. That’s around 6 teaspoons. However, the AHA notes that one study found that most kids eat much more than that. In fact, children ages 1 to 3 typically eat twice that recommendation, and children ages 4 to 8 consume nearly 3 times the recommendation.
Although it may not be necessary to encourage a completely sugar free diet for kids, it’s extremely beneficial to focus on limiting added sugar as much as possible.
Foods to Watch for Raising Kids Sugar Free
Next time you’re meal planning for your family or choosing healthy snacks for kids, consider swapping some foods that are commonly high in added sugar for a healthier option. Sugar often hides in sauces and dressings, like ketchup, barbecue sauce and sweet salad dressings. However, it’s easy to find a sugar free swap for kids or make your own sugar free version. For example, the Cheesy Fusilli Pasta uses a yummy, kid-friendly sugar free swap for traditional pasta sauce, which is usually packed with added sugar.
We know busy schedules and mealtime stress might make raising kids sugar free difficult. Fortunately, kid-friendly meal delivery is a great option! Yumble offers several options with little to no added sugar, like the Vegetarian Bean Burrito and the Italian Chicken & Quinoa. Incorporating more of these meals into your family’s meal plan will encourage a diverse, nutritious, and mostly sugar free diet for kids.
Looking for ways to make raising kids sugar free simple? Yumble delivers fresh, delicious, fully prepared kids' meals right to your doorstep with little to no added sugar, and plenty of nutrition. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family, choose your weekly meals, and Yumble will take care of the rest! No hot oven or stove required!