The Sugar War....for the Kiddos
I have been in a war, and it's a war against SUGAR. It's in everything, it tastes good, but it's highly addictive.
My journey with health and nutrition began over two decades ago learning the best way to eat and stay healthy. That journey has been a big part of helping me overcome debilitating illnesses from childhood. Now that I am a mom, I'm doing everything I can to keep my daughter's diet off the slippery slope of having avoidable health issues and help her develop healthy eating habits as a lifestyle.
Parenting is truly a labor of love that I can't imagine living my life without. But guiding Fadzwa along to eat well, has to be one of the most challenging tasks yet.
I am not the only person in my daughter's life from day to day. With teachers offering donuts as rewards and bribes, free cookies at the grocery store along with the super kind meat counter guy who passes out lolly pops to spark that good neighborhood chat, I am in a battle.
It's a lot to ask a kid not to accept sweet treats in class when everyone else is enjoying themselves. My child simply won't remember if I advise her to say no to sweets if offered at her friends.
Since I can’t be the only one experiencing this struggle, or at least recognizes that this battle to reduce daily sugar intake is going on, I have decided to share how I am tackling the overwhelming sugar battle.
One of the best and most important decisions I have made that helps me get the upper hand on too much sugar is serving my daughter what I eat. She eats 90% of what I eat and that includes low sugar and low carbohydrates.
So whenever she really wants cheese-its or a snack I go bonkers for, I simply refuse to buy it because we both can’t share it.
However, she does have her “I do NOT eat that” list. Particularly peas and spinach. As far as peas goes, I can respect her preference because I learned when she was a baby that she did not like mushy textured foods. Spinach on the other hand, is mental so I put it in her shakes…gottcha. So we have agreed to disagree on her like for spinach and we agree that I should never bringing peas to our table :).
I REFUSE to prepare more than one meal for our family. Its a "take it or leave it" approach which saves me time and effort. And as my dad always told me and my siblings growing up, "hungry people eat". This route makes it easier to choose healthier restaurants, be adventurous with different cuisines and avoid obsessive pickiness. Don’t get me wrong, my daughter has the most delicate senses I have seen. She is quick to taste a dish and tell you the basic raw ingredients. She has her likes and dislikes, but our meals do not depend wholly on her preferences.
I also realize that getting my daughter in the kitchen with me is also an awesome way to help her understand where real food comes from and how a meal actually comes together. She gets to peel and cry while chopping onions, crush garlic cloves, grind whole seasonings and learn to season food to taste.
So whenever she insists on a packaged good that is likely highly processed, my question is always, WHAT’S IN IT! once she tries to pronounce all the scientific terms on the label, she puts it down and says “never mind”.
Here are a few combinations of goodies that I hope you can use if you are fighting to keep sugar and yucky preservatives out of you and your child’s diet. These are great after school snacks that you can teach you kids to prepare themselves.
We have busy weekdays with school meals and extracurricular activities so we pack extras to avoid fast food runs. Everything you see here can be packed up and served for lunch or snack.
Lastly, I have learned to never give in to the pressure. I know how dangerous hangry kids can respond after school. It’s tough standing your ground but we must. Childhood obesity and diabetes is soaring among our children, not to mention the impact being overweight has on their self image.