An estimated 41 million children under the age of 5 years are overweight or obese. Which makes it important to limit energy intake from total fats and sugars. The baby food that comes in jars is majorly processed food. Always check labels before buying them. Excess sugar consumption at a young age has been associated with a higher body mass index (BMI) later in life.
As per WHO, avoid giving sugary foods to children. Salt and sugars should not be added to complementary foods given to children under 2 years of age and should be limited beyond that age.
How much sugar is okay?
Children between two and 18 should eat fewer than six teaspoons of added sugar per day.
Children under 2 years should avoid consuming any added sugar since they need nutrient-rich diets and are developing taste preferences.
Why shouldn’t you sweeten your child’s meal?
Many parents and caregivers feel it’s okay to use jaggery in food, and that if the meal is sweet baby is going to like it more. So eventually, you are setting your baby’s taste pattern to make them like sweeter things, and then for obvious reasons vegetables will be thrown out of the plate.
What about cereals for kids including some nutritional drinks, cerelac, etc?
I have always been a fan of homemade food rather than processed junk. Cereals are processed food. They contain preservatives and a high amount of sugars. They might make up for your child’s fiber intake but more than make up for the sugar intake and so are the nutritional drinks you see in ads and stores. Another reason I don’t promote them.
Tooth decay and sugar!
One of the main reasons for tooth decay in children below 3 years of age is sweets. If left untreated, dental problems can lead to serious infections (even when they’re just baby teeth).
Read labels before you buy food for your child and yourself
Check the ingredients list for terms like evaporated cane juice, corn syrup, dextrose, brown rice syrup, raw sugar, and crystal solids. All of these are other words for sugar.
What are the sugar substitutes?
Honey (in moderation), raisins, dates, fruits are great substitutes to curb those cravings.
How to keep kids away from sugar and from people who offer candies and chocolate?
I believe there is one thing, “Your child your rules”. No one else will suffer as much as they do if something goes wrong because of excessive sugar. So always talk to people around you and keep telling them even if they hate you for it. The best way to keep sugar away from children would be to stop ordering it at home and even if you do keep it under lock – a place your toddler is never going to look.
Weight gain and sugar?
Some parents feel that their child is underweight. The definition varies from parent to parent. But as per WHO a child should double their weight at 6 months and triple their birth weight at 1 year. Ask your pediatrician for a healthy weight range that your child should be in at a particular age and then check if they have a healthy weight. Offering sweets to your child might make them gain weight but they might not make them active and provide them calories for growth and development of their brain. That is why an active child-eating everything and falling low on the weighing scale is always better than a child eating sweets to keep up with the weight.
If you have any more questions on sugar, please feel free to leave it in the comments section below.