Eat your vegetables
What parent hasn’t said that to their children? Did you know that it can take between 10 to 15 exposures to get a child to like a new food? Especially if that new food is a vegetable that they may not like the look of, found distasteful in the past, or they simply decided won’t be good. However, we know they need the nutrients and fiber found in vegetables, so we try, try again.
Teaching our children to be good stewards of the body God has given them is an important lesson, especially important when it comes to sugar consumption. While this is the time of year when candy and other sweet treats are everywhere, teaching kids about the detriments of sugar will help them to make wise food choices and help keep them healthier as they grow.
What’s wrong with sugar?
- It creates health problems. Eating a lot of sugar early in life is linked with obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. And all of those health problems put children and young adults at risk for heart disease.
- Sugar is addictive. Check out this TED ed video, How Sugar Affects the Brain.
- Sugar is sneaky. There are approximately 71 aliases for sugar. Checkout Rutgers’ article, ‘Added Sugars: Hidden in Plain View’.
When it comes to kids, how much sugar is ok?
The American Heart Association’s guidelines call for less than 25 grams (that’s 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for children ages 2 to 18 years. That includes no more than 8 ounces of sugar-sweetened drinks per week. (It’s recommended that children under 2 shouldn’t have sugar.)
Before you purchase a food item, be it cereal, cookies, ‘kid snacks’, look at the nutrition facts label. Find sugar on the food label and do the math. Every 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. For example, 10 grams of sugar (2 ½ teaspoons) are in just one serving (¾ cup) of Lucky CharmsⓇ cereal and just one serving (two cookies) of Chips Deluxe Rainbow Chocolate Chip CookiesⓇ.
It adds up fast!
The research doesn’t tell us to stop eating sugar altogether. However there is sufficient evidence about the detrimental effects of too much sugar on our health. Therefore, we need to be aware. Look at the research, read the ingredient and nutrition labels of the foods we purchase, notice how much sugar our kids are consuming, and recognize the effects of sugar. Check out some of these articles for more info.
- What to do When Your Child Eats Too Much Sugar (Cleveland Clinic)
- MyPlate (USDA)
- Healthy Kids Sweet Enough Without Added Sugars (Harvard School of Public Health)
- Added Sugar is Not So Sweet – Infographic (American Heart Association)
What does the Bible Say?
The Bible doesn’t specifically say, ‘don’t eat sugar’, however, God does tell us:
- Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
- I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Romans 12:1)
- So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
- Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
- For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, (Ephesians 5:29)
Our healthy choices honor God. When we make healthy choices, we’re honoring God with the body he created. Because God created us, he wants us to manage our body in a way that brings glory to him – and that helps bring health to us!
Stay strong, parents!