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7 Easy Substitutes to Get Your Kids off Sugar

Having grown up in a generation of Kool-Aid, Pop Tarts and Nerds, there are many moms who wonder what all the sugar hype is about…isn’t it normal to consume this stuff? In this day and age we need to be concerned about the amount of sugar our children are getting every day. There are more stressors (environmentally, emotionally and physically) than ever before, and consequently more complaints about gut issues, dehydration, headaches, lethargy and fatigue. We are even seeing Type II Diabetes, which is typically adult onset, in children as early as age 7. These complaints are among many I’ve seen diminish once we work through the topic of sugar in a household.

Think about it: there is sugar in our coffee, sugar in our cereal, sugar in our jam, sugar in our power water, sugar in our ketchup, sugar in our peanut butter, our salad dressings, our yogurt, our infant formula....really, it is everywhere.
Mom, it can feel overwhelming to take on this task, but if the understanding and desire is there, you are beyond the halfway mark. The only move left is to implement. It’s a matter of making better food choices by being aware as a shopper, staying away from processed foods, educating yourself to know what ingredients to watch out for and to keep yourself from buying the junk that got you into this fix to begin with. The quick list of substitutes for sugar laden foods/products below to use for both yourself and your children will help you navigate new or forgotten about options.

These substitutes will just get you started and are based upon basic food habits of someone eating the SAD (Standard American Diet).

Instead of: Fruit Snacks
Try this: Real dried fruit, such as apricots, prunes, dates, and currants. These are all very sweet and can be purchased in bulk for packing into lunches or for individual snacks.

Instead of: Kettle Corn Microwave Popcorn
Try this: Air popped fresh popcorn with sea salt, real butter (NOT margarine) and 2 T. maple syrup.

Instead of: Soda
Try this: 100% real fruit juice (3/4 c) with mineral/seltzer water (1/4 c) for a refreshing homemade spritzer

Instead of: Pop-Tarts
Try this: Whole grain toast spread with cream cheese and 1 T of your favorite jam

Instead of: Chocolate Chips
Try this: Carob chips (use as you would chocolate chips), can be purchased at natural foods store, Whole Foods or a co-op.

Instead of: Cinnamon & sugar on white toast
Try this: Whole wheat toast spread with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon

Instead of: Sugared cereal for breakfast
Try this: Whole grain cheerios with a smoothie made with 1c. whole milk plain yogurt, 6-7 frozen strawberries, 1 banana, ¼ cup orange juice

Instead of: Cookies
Try this: Thinly sliced apples with thinly sliced cheese…a nice blend of sweet and salty.

Instead of: Handi-snacks (those cracker and block of fake cheese combo things)
Try this: a handful of whole grain crackers next to a handful of freshly sliced real cheese.

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About the Author

Nichole Kuechle, My Healthy Beginning
P.O. Box 195
Long Lake, MN 55356

If you would like to re-print this article, please contact the author.
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