The American diet is overloaded with sweet stuff. Keep it from invading your kids’ palates with this advice from Fit Home Team: The Posada Family Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition the Inexpensive and Simple Way by baseball great Jorge Posada and his wife, Laura.
This sweetest of substances is one of the most addictive flavors in the world and therefore possibly one of the most dangerous for our children, and certainly ourselves. Sugar is one of those devilish things that can sneak into our sense of craving and desire early in our lives, and for some people it becomes the ultimate challenge to cut back. Even worse, it is widely known that many food producers sneak insulin-spiking sugars into their products to increase the flavor when salt and fat have been reduced.
We would like to offer a rethinking of sugar, one that asks you to consider other ways of getting a sugar fix without having to worry about all of the well-known adverse effects of too much sugar, not the least of which are serious diseases such as diabetes and obesity. We like to believe that sugar tastes the sweetest when it comes directly from the gifts of nature.
According to nutritionists, it is the high-glycemic sugars that you have to really watch out for. These include sucrose, glucose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, maltodextrin, galactose, corn syrup, dextrin, beet sugar, raw sugar, white sugar, concentrated fruit juice, syrup, sorghum, honey, maple syrup, and high-fructose syrup. Foods like soft drinks, ice cream, pastries, canned fruit, and candy are also loaded with starches that inevitably become high-glycemic sugars.
Ways to Moderate Your Family’s Sugar Intake
- Buy unsweetened cereal and add fresh fruit and honey at home.
- Stay away from fruit juices that say “from concentrate” and look instead for “100 percent fruit juice.” But don’t believe the “100 percent” part; you can assume there is still way too much sugar in there. The best thing to do is to dilute the juice at home. This way you can really minimize the amount of sugar per drink but still get a nice kick of flavor too.
- Don’t put ketchup at the table for every meal; in fact, try to get your kids accustomed to eating without it. Believe it or not, there is 1 tablespoon of added sugar in every tablespoon of ketchup.
- If your kids love chocolate, introduce them to dark chocolate and see if they bite…the closer chocolate is to raw cacao, the better it is for your health.
- Replace maple syrup, for example, with regular honey or date honey; or use natural agave syrup as a sweetener, which is so much better for you than anything with chemicals in it and tastes perfectly sweet in just about anything.
- Serve a fresh chopped mango for dessert instead of cake or cookies, and teach your family to appreciate this unique, natural sweetness that comes from perfectly ripe fruit. The trick is to eat the right fruits at the right time, and if you stick to this seasonal cue, you’ll never miss out on the sweetness factor.
- Expose your children to fruits like dates and figs, which taste almost like morsels of caramel and also happen to be high in fiber.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Jorge Posada is an all-star catcher for the New York Yankees. Laura Posada is an attorney, a certified personal trainer, and CEO of Laura Posada, LLC. The couple lives with their two children, Jorge Luis and Paulina, in New York City. They are the authors of Fit Home Team: The Posada Family Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition the Inexpensive and Simple Way (Copyright © 2009 by Jorge Posada and Laura Posada).
MORE ARTICLES BY THE AUTHORS
- 18 Ways to Turn Your Kids Onto Healthier Eating
- How to Keep Your Kids Moving During the Winter
- Restaurant Rules 101: Tips for Eating Out With Your Family
- Read Chapter 1 of Fit Home Team: The Posada Family Guide to Health, Exercise, and Nutrition the Inexpensive and Simple Way
- Watch a video with Jorge Posada and Laura Posada