Helping Your Kids and Family to Cut Down on Sugar and Sweets

Face it: the United States runs on sugar. This is not a good thing. A recent study in the International journal of Pediatric Obesity says that nearly half of American kids will be overweight by 2010. The current number is one-third. Here are some tips for cutting down on the sugar in your house.

  1. Eliminate sodas. This means you too! This one change is like moving from a Hummer to a Prius, and will save you both calories and dollars. There really is very little good for you in a soda, and despite the “thirst-quenching” advertising message, sodas do a poor job of hydrating little active bodies.
  2. Don’t be an all or nothing dictator. Kids need to learn that all things, including maybe even soda once in a blue moon, are okay in moderation. Completely eliminating everything “bad” might have the effect of making your kids lust after them even more.
  3. Avoid processed foods and watch ingredients. The more you make on your own, or sweeten on your own terms, the better off you’ll be. Pre-sweetened anything isn’t really a time-saver anyway since adding sugar takes only a second. Also, check labels for sugar in places you don’t think it would be like. E.g. pizzas, bagels, and especially low-fat products which use sweetness to cover for the low fat content.
  4. Allow your kids to make choices. Kids are amazingly wise if you let them decide between two things rather than giving in to both. They also understand that some things are better for them.
  5. Big bowls mean big servings. Try serving ice cream in a little cup next time.
  6. Look carefully into marketing messages. Not everything you read tells the true story. “Light” might be just in relationship to the “ultra-heavy” option.
  7. Watch out for the “naturally sweet”. This is just sugar by another name.

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