Having just been to my 3 year olds first kids birthday party I realized how much sugar is consumed by these little ones in just 2 hours. From sweets to cakes to chocolate covered fruits and breadsticks and bucket loads of juice. I over heard one of the parents saying “Oh well that’s what a party is all about isn’t it?”
But does it have to be? My 3 year old has never tried sweets or cakes apart from the grain free, sugar free treats I make at home and despite this did not have less of a good time than the others. In fact he did not even once ask to try the different sugary treats. If you can call these treats when children consume them several times a week or even every day.
He was immediately attracted to the fruit kebabs, which looked like big lollipops and the parsnip and beetroot chips. I admit he was allowed some natural apple juice too. When the piñata was broken and sweets came tumbling out alongside little presents such as whistles and harmonicas he grabbed these with joy running around blowing them happily. When the treasure hunt was a mix of sweets and plastic jewelry he came to me proudly with his new pink necklace and a ring but did not have a sweet in hand. He thoroughly enjoyed the party and did not feel left out or unhappy that he was not able to eat all that sugar. Some of the other parents were struggling to limit the sugar intake in their kids. “No more, I said no more sweets” as the children were digging through their treat bags.
We have created an association between sugar and having a good time for children like alcohol at an adult party. In fact sugar has been termed a gateway drug and one can see from the affects and the cravings this is definitely true. Sugar is found in many foods hidden so well that many parents are unaware it is even there. Just look at cereals, cereal bars, yoghurts and juices, which are deemed as healthy by many. These are packed with sugar thereby exposing children to much more sugar than they should ever have and this on a daily basis.
For a sugar free treat that could easily be served instead of ice cream at a kids party see this recipe.
“One ingredient banana ice cream”! Add some berries, raw cocoa, mint or vanilla for some different flavours. I added peanut butter which turned out to be delicious and you would never know it is dairy and sugar free! All you have to do is peel the banana, cut it into slices and pop them into your freezer. Once frozen you just blend them on their own or with your favourite flavor. Its as easy as that and kids will love it!
If you would like more information on ‘Nutrition for Families’ please contact us about one of our nutrition talks.
Here is to someone who gave up sugar for a whole year with her family.
The best thing you can do for your child is to never even start!