WEIS Radio | Local and regional news, sports and weather »Study finds American children eat mostly junk food. Here are six tips for reducing sugar in children’s diets
(NEW YORK) – The coronavirus pandemic has changed much of children’s lives, as well as their diets, research shows.
A recent study found that after one year of the pandemic, one in three pediatric patients was over their expected weight, a 41% increase from before the pandemic.
Another study, published this month in the medical journal JAMA, found that two-thirds of the calorie intake of American children comes from ultra-processed foods, defined as ready-to-eat foods that contain “little or no whole foods ”, such as frozen pizza. , chips and cookies.
The more processed foods you eat, the more sugar a child is likely to consume, which can lead to lifelong health complications, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, experts say.
“The added sugars for most children are going to show up in packaged processed foods,” said Maya Feller, New York-based registered dietitian and nutritionist. “For the most part, you don’t have tablespoons of sugar dumped in their homemade food, so it’s actually in whatever product they eat.”
Kelly LeVeque, a Los Angeles-based holistic nutritionist who works with stars like Jennifer Garner, has focused on blood sugar control with her adult clients for over a decade.
When LeVeque gave birth to her eldest son almost three years ago, she said she was shocked at how difficult it is to control sugar intake even in young children.
“I know firsthand that the added sugars and even too much natural sugar in something like orange juice wreak havoc on us internally, on our metabolic goals, so when I became a mom it was mind blowing,” she declared. “Even the [portable food] the sachets available for children are all in sugar.
It’s a daily struggle to keep sugar, processed foods, and inflammatory oils out of our homes. To moms, my babysitters over there in the trenches …. keep fighting the good fight for good health! These little brains, organs and bodies need an adult in the room. #saynotosucre
– Kelly LeVeque (@bewellbykelly) May 10, 2021
LeVeque recently launched a “Fab 4 Under 4” guide for parents that adapts the “Fab 4” principles she created to help adults maintain blood sugar control in children.
“We believe that children are not vulnerable to the effects of sugar, but in fact they are more vulnerable,” she said, noting that spikes in blood sugar caused by sugar can affect everything from mood to mood. ‘a child to his ability to learn. “These are formative years for kids and in my opinion they are drugged with sugar, and it’s not their fault when you look at the increased access to processed foods in their pantries,”
Here are five tips from LeVeque and Feller to help parents reduce the amount of sugar in their children’s diets.
1. Balance the sugar with protein, fat or fiber.
Parents can help reduce the impact of sugar consumed by children by balancing it with other macronutrients, according to LeVeque.
“If you want to have sugar, even natural sugar in the form of fruit, you absolutely have to balance that with protein, fat or fiber,” she said. “This glycemic response needs to be mixed with other foods.”
A breakfast of pancakes and strawberries, for example, would cause a double spike in blood sugar, while serving pancakes with a protein like peanut butter or turkey sausage would help counter the spike in blood sugar caused by the pancakes. .
2. Know how much sugar your child is consuming at home.
Feller and LeVeque recognize that it’s inevitable for kids to consume sugar on celebrations like birthdays or with friends, and that’s okay.
What parents can do, however, is make sure that they keep the foods their children eat daily at home low in sugar.
“Make sure that with every food in your house, you know where the sugar is,” LeVeque said. “My kids are going to have sugar but they won’t have sugar in their ketchup or marinara or granola bars,” “We’re going to take it out of everyday stuff and be very strategic.”
3. Read food labels.
There are over 70 ways that sugar can be listed on a food label, so parents should not only read food labels, but read them carefully.
Look for words that end in “ose” (like glucose, dextrose, sucrose), as well as words like juice concentrate, syrup, honey, maple, coconut sugar, and agave, according to LeVeque.
“Sugar is sugar. It doesn’t matter what type it is, ”she said. “I don’t care if it’s natural, organic, vegan, paleo, keto, look for the sugar.”
Feller recalls that parents should also be wary of food labels that feature healthy buzzwords to advertise a product that nonetheless contains sugar.
“In today’s food landscape, it’s difficult for parents to understand what constitutes healthy eating,” she said. “When a parent goes to the grocery store and sees 100% carrot juice, it is sure to be a better choice than a sugary drink, but it would be good to offer a carrot to her child. “
4. Talk to your child about how food makes him feel.
LeVeque said she talks to her sons about what the foods they eat do for their bodies, such as building muscle.
“I want my kids to have the basics of how healthy eating makes them feel and what their family’s expectations are, that we eat to nourish our bodies,” she said. “So when they cry and fall apart after a sugar crash, it’s having the conversation, ‘I see you’re upset now … I bet if you had a little protein and a lot of water you would have. feel much better.
5. Encourage your child to eat what you eat.
“You don’t need children’s food,” LeVeque said, adding that children’s food almost always contains more sugar. “People think, ‘Oh, I have to give my kids the kid’s yogurt,’ but it’s just something you’re told, that kids need kid’s food and kids need kids’ meals. children. “
When LeVeque’s sons start to eat solid foods, she serves them a serving of her own meal when they go out to eat, for example.
“I’m going to order chicken and a side of vegetables or a salad and order some extra protein and put some chicken on her plate with avocado,” she said. “And when the kids get to the age they need another meal, order a real meal, take half home, and you eat breakfast the next day. Not only did your child eat healthier, but you also have a healthier lunch for the next day.
6. Let your child cook with you.
“Kids love to cook and they’re super capable,” said Feller. “Sometimes it takes a long time to cook with them, but we have to change our minds and come to terms with the idea that there will be times when we spend time preparing something.”
“You have to get your kids involved,” LeVeque repeated. “And get your kids involved in making the veggies, protein, and the dip. They don’t care what they’re doing with you. You think they’re going to be disappointed that they don’t bake cookies, but they’re so excited to make dressing with you, kale salad with you, barbecue with you.
When LeVeque cooks with her son, she uses tricks like swapping bananas for sugar in their favorite blueberry muffin recipe.
“Swapping bananas for half the sugar in the recipe helps,” she said. “Because the banana sugar is wrapped in fiber, there won’t be as much of a spike and crash in blood sugar.”
Try these low sugar recipes from LeVeque and Feller
Kelly’s Leveque Blueberry Muffins
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla nut milk
2 bananas (mash them in the skin before placing them in a bowl so you don’t have to stuff them for so long)
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of almond flour
1 powdered vanilla protein powder @bewellbykelly (or 1/4 cup coconut flour)
2/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cup blueberries
Mix wet and dry ingredients and place in a greased muffin pan (can grease with coconut oil).
Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
“I brush the muffins with almond butter and ghee, yum!” »Said Lévèque.
Maya Feller Mint Chocolate Chip Green Smoothie
1 cup full-fat, plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup baby spinach
1 teaspoon of ground flax seeds
1/2 cup frozen banana
1/2 teaspoon mint extract (alcohol-free) or 1 drop BetterStevia® Peppermint Cookie Liquid
cocoa nibs for garnish
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend for 90 seconds until smooth.
Pour into a glass, decorate with cocoa beans and enjoy.
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