This is the second part of our two-part series on high-fructose syrup from Education.com. The two experts quotes here are Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), and Dawn Swidorski, Public Outreach Director for the Defeat Diabetes Foundation.
(Read part 1: Is High-Fructose Corn Syrup Making Kids Fat?)
6 steps you can take now to get high-fructose corn syrup out of your child’s daily diet:
- Stay away from soft drinks and other sweetened beverages. Both Swidorski and Levin whole-heartedly agree that the most important and beneficial thing kids (and everyone!) can put into their body is water, out of the tap. Levin suggests drinking carbonated water or water mixed with a little bit of natural juice concentrate or even herbal iced teas you make at home, if your kids are really jonesin’ for a soft drink fix. “Keep the sweetness down to a minimum in general,” urges Levin.
- Want a more substantial snack? Keep an abundance of nuts, dried fruits and fresh fruits in the house for kids to snack on. Keep fresh and dried fruit out on the counter and the rest of your snacks in the cupboard. Make a rule that if your child wants a snack they have to ask for it, but they don’t have to ask for the fresh and dried fruit that’s on the counter. Swidorski says that kids will more often reach for the good stuff on the counter rather than having to ask for a snack, and be just as satisfied.
- Read before you eat. “Teach your kids to read and understand food labels. Especially the ingredients list,” says Swidorski. It’s important for kids to think about the foods they put into their bodies.
- Eat the rainbow. Both Swidorski and Levin agree that eating natural foods from the full color palette is extremely important. That means things like red bell peppers, oranges, corn, green beans, blueberries, eggplants, black beans and everything in between.
- Lead by example. Most importantly, parents need to be good examples for their kids, especially when it comes to health and nutrition. “Eat real food” says Swidorski, “Whole food.” And that’s really the best advice of all.
- Make good choices. If your kids are really looking to scratch that chip itch or satisfy that cookie craving, here are some great suggestions for snacks you can start with:
- Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips
- Pom Pomegranate Juice
- Fruitabü Strawberry Fruit Twirls
- Voskos Honey Vanilla Bean Greek Yogurt
- Annie’s Bunny Grahams
- Lundberg Family Farms Sesame & Seaweed Rice Ships
- Late July Organic Snacks Mini Milk Chocolate Endangered Animal Sandwich Cookies
- Himalania Organic Goji Berries
The bottom line is that high-fructose corn syrup is empty calories. “There’s no reason for it to be in our foods,” says Swidorski. So snack healthy, eat at home with the family when you can, and eat smart. The results will be satisfyingly sweet, all on their own.