Less Sugar, Less Caffeine, Healthier Kids!
By Donna Stark
From starting their mornings with a solid breakfast to packing plenty of fruits and vegetables in their lunch to serving them balanced meals at the end of the day, it is easy to see how dedicated you are to providing your children a healthy diet and to making sure they get all the nutrition they need. So, it stands to reason that you would also avoid giving them foods that are high in sugar and caffeine, right?
Hidden Sources of Sugar and Caffeine
It's good to pay attention to what your children are eating and to limit their intake of certain foods, but sometimes, things aren't as obvious as we think. What we may consider being healthy could actually be anything but. Sugar and caffeine tend to lurk in places that most people don't even consider. Take a look at a few examples below.
- Sugar - Pasta sauce, granola bars, packaged fruit and applesauce, yogurt, instant oatmeal, salad dressing
- Caffeine - Decaf coffee, non-cola sodas, chocolate, energy water, ice cream, green tea, protein bars
What's So Bad About Sugar and Caffeine?
The more sugar your children consume, the more likely their health will decline. Excessive sugar intake can lead to weight gain, exacerbate asthma symptoms, cause mood swings, and over time, contribute to diabetes and heart disease.
Caffeine can cause significant health issues too. Most doctors recommend limited use of caffeine for children because too much can lead to health issues, such as insomnia, anxiety, irritability, rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and headaches.
Sugar-Free and Caffeine-Free Diet
If you notice changes in your children's behaviors and can't pinpoint the underlying reason, it may be a good idea to focus on the food you bring into the home because hidden sugars and caffeine could be what's causing the problems. The first place to start would be your pantry. Read the nutritional label on all your snacks and beverages. If they are high in either, try to purchase healthier alternatives the next time you are at the store.
It's also important to teach your children how to make wise food choices when you aren't around to watch what they eat. Hanging out with friends, choosing lunch items at the school's cafeteria, eating at the mall ... these are all times when they may need more guidance on how to select healthy snacks and meals.
Eating to Good Health
We all know that our children don't need any help with their energy levels and we also know the dangers of too much sugar and caffeine, so do your part to limit their intake and take the time to teach them the same. It's the easiest way to make a difference in their future health!
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Chino Hills, Calif.