Mason County News
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Family Times
Wednesday, May 25, 2011 • Posted May 25, 2011

10 Tips to Cut Back On Added Sugars

This is something that I struggle with every day. Both my daughter and I have a sweet tooth! My summer clothes are now fitting a bit tight, so a friend and I have pledged to try and eat better and exercise more. I always try and keep a fairly healthy diet, but I do confess to having a chocolate “stash” that I hide from Brooke. I’m not going to be bringing any more candy into the house and we are having yummy fruit for dessert (we like it cut up and topped with a little yogurt or occasionally a little whipped cream) as often as possible. Blueberries and strawberries are pretty cheap right now! I’m not going to completely restrict myself, because I know that will probably backfire. Here is what the UDSA has to say on the topic:Cut back on buying foods and beverages with added sugars. If you don’t buy them, your kids won’t get them very often. Eating too many sweet treats can contribute to tooth decay and overweight. So, it is important for kids, and adults, to limit eating sugary foods and drinks.

1: serve small portions It’s not necessary to get rid of all sweets and desserts. Instead, teach your child that a small amount of sweets or a treat can go a long ways. Use smaller bowls, plates, and utensils for your child to eat with. Children can practice serving from small bowls as you help them.

2: skip the sodaSoda is high in calories and contains a lot of sugar. Skip the store’s soda or sweetened beverage aisle completely. Remind your child that you’ve already picked out a juice together. Make fresh fruit smoothies together by blending fresh or frozen fruit with fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt or 100% juice. I speak from lots of experience- I cook with kids every week and probably about 95% of them love the smoothies we make together. It is the first thing they ask to make when they see me, because they remember making them with me the last time we were together.

3: use the check-out lane that does not display candyMost grocery stores will have a candy-free check-out lane to help moms out. Waiting in a store line makes it easy for children to ask for the candy or gum that is right in front of their faces to tempt them.

4: choose not to offer sweets as rewards By offering food as a reward for good behavior, children learn to think that some foods are better than other foods. Reward your child with kind words and comforting hugs or non-food items, like stickers, to make them feel special.

5: offer fruit for dessertServe baked apples, pears, or enjoy a fruit salad. Or, serve yummy frozen juice bars (100% juice)as a healthy option instead of high-fat desserts.

6: make food funSugary foods that are marketed to kids are advertised as “fun foods.” Try making nutritious foods fun by preparing them with your child’s help and being creative together. Make a smiley face with sliced bananas for eyes, raisins for a nose, and an orange slice for a mouth. Or, cut fruit into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters.

7: encourage children to invent new snacksMake your own trail mixes from dry cereal, dried fruit, and nuts or seeds. Provide them with a table full of fresh and nutritious foods, and allow children to pick and choose what they want in their “new” innovative snack.

8: name a food your child helps make Serve “Dawn’s Salad” or “Peter’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner. The food will be nutritious and your child will be proud of the meal he or she helped create. They will also be more willing to try new things if they get involved in meal planning.

9: play with foodLet your child make towers out of whole-grain crackers or make funny faces on plates with pieces of fruit.

10: if meals are not eaten, kids do not need “extras”Candy or cookies are not replacements for foods not eaten at meal times.

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