Last week, my friend sat across from me and said “It doesn’t matter if you give children sodas (a.k.a. minerals or soft drinks), as they sometimes need sugar to boost their energy levels”. I hear that a lot. Or variations of that kind of statement. The most ridiculous one has to be that ice-cream is a “healthy snack” because it at least contains milk.
High sugar intake in children has been liked to obesity which brings with it many many bad diseases. The recommended daily intake of sugar for a child is 12.5g. And with parents handing off sodas, fruit juices, biscuits and yes, ice-cream to children, it is almost always exceeded – on a daily basis.
If you have kitchen scales, I invite you to weigh out 12.5g of sugar and see for yourself how much it is. Now, note that this is supposed to be it for a day but EVERYTHING contains sugar these days – ketchup, peanut butter, biscuits, even some salad dressings. It becomes easy to see that on a daily basis the maximum recommended quantity is exceeded. The last thing you need is to add to this by casually supplying even more sugar through fruit juices in cartons, sodas or yes, so called “healthy” ice cream.
Children do not NEED casual sucrose from time to time. Fructose, which is found in fruit is a good enough source of sugar. As a matter of fact, even too much fructose is a bad, bad, bad idea!
Making healthy choices is something the majority of us as parents struggle with. Imagine if you could reduce or completely remove this struggle for your kids and give them a chance at a healthier life, wouldn’t you take it?
In an ideal world, we could absolutely cut out sugar and not ever indulge in any of these sugary treats. However, I know that that is difficult so my suggestion is that you begin cutting back a little at a time. E.g. no more juice packs for school, use Zobo sweetened with pineapple instead. If you have a baby, look at that as a clean slate. Never hand that baby any processed drinks, not even ribena. Don’t put sugar in your child’s Ogi. That child will grow up drinking sugarless Ogi and enjoying it because you have trained his/her palate.
How do I know this works? I trained my own daughter like that. She only started eating the unhealthy things when she started school and started getting curious about what other children were eating. Now, I allow her to eat them very rarely. Just so that she doesn’t start begging other kids for their school lunches. Imagine if the other parents in the class only packed healthy meals for their kids? There are only benefits. No downsides. Start today. Your child will love you for it.