Sometimes I like to take a break from the crafting and make some fun things with food. My picky little eaters and I really enjoy getting creative in the kitchen! Recently, I gave our eating plan a sugar overhaul prompting me to get creative with our snacks! If your kids are like mine you have little snacking machines!!
We eat pretty healthy, and have treats in moderation, so I don’t really think about extra sugars in our diet. We avoid things like soda, candy and pop tarts (oh you deliciously evil tarts of sugary goodness). But, I did not think about the sugars hiding in crackers, cereal and veggie straws. You know… the staples of toddlerhood.
After a crash course in sugar from a dietitian, I started adding things up in my kids snack cupboard. Natural sugars aren’t terrible, it’s all the added sugars to our food products. Sugar is added to EVERYTHING! So, here are a few simple swaps we’ve made with very little fuss!
1. Make Your Own Yogurt Flavors. I give the kids a bowl of Greek plain yogurt and let them mix in a drizzle of honey and (low sugar) crisp rice cereal. I no longer give them the organic yogurt pouches with added fruit and veggie puree. I thought it was an easy way to get an extra serving of both into my kids, but it turns out each pouch has 13 grams of sugar (or 3 teaspoons). The recommended daily allowance is 3-4 teaspoons max per day for preschoolers. I was giving them an entire days worth of sugar for breakfast! Oops.
2. Ditch The Juice. I know it is a big no-no but I still give my kids watered down juice. Even organic juices have a lot of sugar. I thought it was an easy way to get Vitamin C into my picky preschoolers, but it is still a lot of sugar. We switched to caffeine free herbal fruit teas. This is a flavorful way to get them to drink more water with zero sugars. We add one tea bag per quart of water and leave in the fridge over night so it is ready by morning. They also love blending the tea with berries and freezing into popsicles!
3. Make Your Own Ice Cream. I know I want all the yummy sweetness and creaminess of ice cream. Who doesn’t? If you read the label on ice cream cartons it is not only full of sugar, but crazy amounts of additives I can’t pronounce. We make a lot of frozen fruit creams and Popsicles using coconut milk, or almond milk and fruit purees. The benefit is more protein and fiber than sugar. And, no artificial colors. We save the sugary real thing for weekend trips to the ice cream shop.
4. Curb The Crackers. My kids could live on Gold Fish crackers. These aren’t highly sugary treats if you stick to the 56 fish serving size. But, what toddler or preschooler will limit themselves to just ONE serving of 56 goldfish crackers?! We traded our fish for popcorn with almonds, fresh veggie sticks and hummus and almond butter apple sandwiches. Snacks made with whole foods tend to be more filling without adding sugars.
I was pleasantly surprised how seamlessly my kids accepted these small changes. They haven’t had Goldfish crackers in weeks. They asked for them the first few days, but were so excited to try out new things they gave up on the crackers pretty quick. Now when they get them they really are a treat and not just a mindless munchie.
Have you made a simple swap in your kids snack routine? I want recipes so please share!
The Whatever Mom is a full time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here.