I am one of those mothers who believe that the balancing act with sugar, the right quantities and types of food in a child’s body can ward off any illness or growth challenge. I pay special attention to what goes into the body, because that way I have an idea of what’s going on in the body. After all, they say “you are what you eat”.
These days, fellow mothers-in-hustle complain about the unavailability of healthy foods to feed their kids, and with the myriad of artificial ingredients and/or sugar pumped fancy packs staring at us daily, it’s no wonder this complaint stands. Feeding Nigerian children with foods containing high amounts of sugar is now scientifically proven to spearhead health adversities such as obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, insomnia, infertility and hyperactivity. These disorders can be prevented if only we pay apt attention to our children’s diet.
Sugar; It’s most natural states are Sucrose, Fructose, Galactose, Maltose, Lactose and Glucose. Then, there are the artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame, Saccharine, Stevia etc synthesized for technical or economic reasons by manufacturing companies. These sweetened additives have their own issues. About 35% of a child’s daily diet is perfect with natural sugars, however we often encourage them to exceed this scale by providing them with foods containing too many processed sugars. Tinned foods, carbonated drinks, and packaged snacks are primary suspects for high blood sugar.
For instance, yam, rice and garri already contain large amounts of glucose, it would be terrible to add a carbonated drink, a sweetened beverage and sugar-glazed pastries to your child’s lunch box for the same day. Since children generally weigh much less than the average adult, the sugar in their blood should be balanced. In other words, it should be high enough to let them run around the yard or throw Frisbee’s at the park for hours, but low enough to help them sleep throughout the night without experiencing frequent disturbances before dawn. Balance, not omission is key.
Your best bet to achieving a balanced sugar diet is this: Do put some biscuits in their lunch box but make sure you are opting for soda crackers or sugar-free biscuits. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the biscuits would be bitter or devoid of any sugar, it just means that artificial sweeteners would have been replaced with unprocessed sugars, like glucose. If your children are above 12 months old, then you can replace raw sugar in their chocolate beverage with honey. Honey contains fructose which is healthier for the blood than glucose. It is also easily digested and doesn’t cause so much excitement in the nerves (if you know what I mean). Since most milk drinks are stuffed with processed sugars, you can always buy fresh yogurt which is plain, and doesn’t list any flavoring or artificial sugar on its packaging.
If you get the sugar balancing act just right, you can be guaranteed to enjoy motherhood with children who are of the right weight for themselves, develop intellectually at their own pace, explore without erratic behavior, sleep just enough through the night to give you more resting time, and indulge in the right feeding habits which would ensure a longer, happier life in their future.
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