With the hustle and bustle of everyday responsibilities, sometimes making healthy choices for our children’s lunches can be a challenge, especially with limited time. With fast and convenient options like Uncrustables, Lunchables, Go-Gurts and the like, kids today are taking in excess sugar in the middle of the day when their minds and bodies need the best we could offer them.
Kids are Sweet Enough
No need to add sugar, kids are sweet enough as it is. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams or six tablespoons of added sugar per day. That limit is easily met and exceeded by lunches containing one juice pouch, a good-old-fashioned PB&J, and a Go-Gurt averaging 12, 22, and 14 grams of sugar each. They may be yummy, and in small doses not harmful, but over time they can have negative effects on a child’s overall health and behavior.
A 2014 report on Fox News which details an interview with Dr. Julie L. Wei, a pediatric otolaryngologist, entails the her long-term observation that sugar actually weakens the a child’s immune system and can essentially cause symptoms which mimic allergy-like symptoms causing some children to be prescribed allergy medications for their symptoms without formal testing.
Children are like sponges, absorbing every little thing in their environment. Providing them with the proper tools and setting them up for success in a must if we want to see them prosper. Access sugar however can inhibit a child’s ability think optimally. In 2012 UCLA conducted a study on the effects of fructose on memory and cognition. The results concluded that eating a diet high in “fructose over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information.”
Get kids involved in their diet! Explain the effects, both long term, and short term, of sugar on their bodies and minds. Have them help you pick out healthy items at the grocery store so they feel empowered and responsible for the task of keeping their bodies and brains as healthy as we want them to be. Doing so will be a great learning and bonding experience for the entire family as well as create a better recipe for success in their school performance.