~ Your guide to understanding all things sweet ~
Sugar has become a rather large topic of conversation lately due to the child obesity epidemic, its role in adult diseases and even being labelled as a toxin! I often get asked about sugar and how much kids should be eating. Below is a guide to how to read nutritional labels when looking at sugar and other helpful tips to reduce consumption.
Why is it so bad?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that provides the body with a quick energy hit, soon followed by a slump in energy. Sugar provides no nutritional benefit; it has ‘empty calories’. Sugar consumption in children is above average and can lead to hyperactivity, reduced immunity and tooth decay. It is the added sugars that we are to be wary of. Foods high in added sugar include; pastries, muffins, cakes, lollies, chocolate, fruit drinks, cordials and soft drinks. You may be surprised to know also that sugar is added to some salad dressings, baked beans, tomato sauce, some yoghurts and of course, the worst culprit, breakfast cereals!
When reading the nutrition label of a product, read the sugar content per 100 grams not per serve (as serving sizes are different). When reading the ingredient list, if sugar is listed in the first 3 or 4 ingredients, you can be sure that the product is fairly high in sugar.
Sugar is not only listed as ‘sugar’ but it also goes by the names: sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), fructose (fruit sugar & honey), corn syrup, rice syrup, malt extract, rice extract, molasses, maltose. Many products pride themselves as having ‘no added sugars’ – this does not mean that there is no sugar present, i.e. as in honey, fruit, milk etc.
Tips on reducing sugar intake:
Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions. Yours in health,
Does this sound familiar – it’s 3.30pm, you’ve picked the kids up from school and need to head to the shops, then get the kids home to do their homework, make dinner, exercise if you didn’t that morning, tidy up the house, feed & bath the kids and spend some time with your partner. Sounds crazy doesn’t it! But this is real life at about 4-8pm for most families. How can I make more time you ask??? One way is to fit in a quick 30 minute walk in the morning (if you can), meal plan & shop over the weekend. I say to myself I need to plan my meals more, so I am not at the shops every day! I love food shopping and buying fresh produce but now that I have a toddler and a baby on the way, I need more time! I tend to have certain things I buy at the supermarket (toilet rolls, some cleaning products, frozen peas, nappies etc) and others at the fruit market, health shop, fish market and deli. But all who has all that spare time?
A great article I read recently from The Food Coach* researched some key common grocery items from the supermarket and the best brands to choose and why.
Yoghurt – Jalna. This is a personal preference of mine (as well as Barambah Organics, which is only available from health stores). Both are excellent quality natural yoghurts with nothing added; no sugars, no flavours, no thickeners – just the benefits of good bacteria.
Cheese – Nimbin Natural Ebo cheese. This is a great tasting cheese that is low in salt.
Olive Oil – Look for dark glass bottles to keep the oil from oxidising. Cobram Estate was a standout.
Canned tomatoes – a regular we all buy often. Organic brands are good & look for low sodium content or no added salt. Lagina came up trumps here as they are just a tin of tomatoes, that’s it!
Pasta – always look for whole wheat/ wholegrain. Barilla make a great whole wheat spaghetti as does the Macro range.
Cereals – a big issue here! There is so much hype around sugar laden supermarket breakfast cereals and so there should be. Majority should be in the confectionery isle, as their sugar content is similar to a packet of lollies. Coles and Macro brands do lovely wholegrain oats – add nuts, seeds and organic dried fruits and you can make a healthy start to the day.
I could go on. Be vigilant at the shops and buy good quality produce. The less the ingredients listed on an item, generally the better. Also don’t be fooled by low fat or no sugar. Low fat items generally have added sugar to put back the taste and no sugar can mean an item is artificially sweetened something you really don’t want!
Health & Happiness,
Here we are again; Christmas has come around so fast! Now that I have a little family, it is important to me to look after my family’s health all year round. This month, I will offer a few tips to get through the festive season feeling as healthy as possible and a recipe treat for the whole family to make for Christmas day!
Tips for Mum & Dad:
And, the Kids:
Recipe: Healthy Gingerbread Men
Here we’ve swapped a few things, the white flour & sugar for brown (unprocessed varieties) and add raisins for a little extra fibre. You could also decorate with dried cranberries, goji berries or almond flakes. The spices give the cookies a great flavour and have numerous health benefits.
Have a safe and healthy festive season and I’ll see you in 2012!
Welcome to the 1st newsletter of 2012! This marks the start of a new year, new goals & new challenges. What resolutions have you set yourself and your family? Next month I will be doing some more post graduate nutrition study in paediatric nutrition. I'm very excited about this & will have some great articles on infant & child health such as allergies, fussy eating, meal & snack ideas and more. My husband and I are expecting our second child in June but I will also be available for consultations up until then. Please email or call if you have any health queries or concerns.
Easy changes/ resolutions for your family to start the year:
I look forward to bringing some great healthy articles suited to you and your family in the coming months!
I recently attended a talk by leading baby and child Nutritionist Leanne Cooper. An interesting topic she focused on was fussy eating during the toddler years. My little one is only 9 months old but this is a stage I fear her going through. Even though I am feeding her the healthiest and nourishing of foods, this is a stage that as parents, we find it hard to deal with and sometimes feel we can’t control, but there are ways you can!
Some interesting facts:
Ways to deal with fussy eaters:
When to worry?
Good luck. If you have any other ideas, feel free to share!