With Thanksgiving Day rapidly approaching and the official kick-off of the holiday season under way, dinners, parties and gathering are bound to include a lot of sugary choices and treats. Most parents spend a good deal of time during the year monitoring their children’s sugar intake. While you want them to enjoy some special holiday indulgences, there are still many things you can do to keep the sugar under control and not have your all of your efforts come undone.
Cutting down on sugar doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor.
Since it is a time of year of abundant desert choices, why add extra sugar to your food? Many families enjoy sweet potatoes with that baked marshmallow layer, but these little white spongy treats are simply pure sugar. The reason that the “sweet potato” has its name is because they are naturally sweet. Baked whole or mashed, the delicate sweet flavor always comes through. For a little additional treat, many recipes include ingredients such as chopped walnuts, lemon zest or chopped sage.
The same rule applies to all of your other side dish recipes. You really do not need to add sugar or syrups to stuffing, vegetable or potato dishes. Instead, it is wonderful to depend on fresh or dried herbs, fresh citrus juices, apples, pears, nuts or seeds to jazz up your holiday favorites. In the case of homemade cranberry sauce, it is wise to dramatically cut down on the sugar from the recipe and include your favorite sugar substitute. A little fresh grated ginger and the juice of an orange is also a nice addition to this must-have holiday condiment. Teaching your children to depend on the natural flavors of fruits and vegetables will also pay off during their adulthood in maintaining healthy dietary habits.
It is also a smart idea to keep a bowl of fresh fruits and nuts out on the table. Snacking on these before desert, will limit desert portions. Many of the lower calorie pies available on the market are also lower in sugar. And naturally, if you bake your own, you can control or substitute the sugar.
Park View's Point of View
At Park View Pediatric Dentistry we want our young patients to enjoy the holiday season, but not let the sugar intake get out of hand. In addition to the helpful suggestions above, we would also like to include these healthy reminders.
— 500ml of cola contains the equivalent of 17 cubes of sugar.
— Never serve sugary sodas with your meal, especially during the holidays when deserts will be served. Opt instead for fresh or sparkling water (plain, flavored or with a squeeze of citrus).
— There are many types of sugars and lots of different names used to describe “sugar” such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch, invert sugar, corn syrup and honey. Be on the lookout for them on labels when you shop.
— If your child does partake in holiday ciders or deserts, pay extra attention and lend support in doing a super thorough floss and brush job throughout the season!
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