5 Sneaky Sugar Offenders to Watch out for as a Parent

A parent’s job never ends when it comes to health education, but we sometimes make mistakes even when we are driven by the best intentions in the world.

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When it comes to your child’s diet, choosing the healthiest options is not always easy. Cooking at home is not always possible and toddlers are known to prefer foods like chicken nuggets, fries and bread, and ignore everything else. A parent’s job never ends when it comes to health education, but we sometimes make mistakes even when we are driven by the best intentions in the world.

This applies to what we feed our children, too. While trying to offer them a healthy, balanced diet full of nutritious meals and organic produce, we might ignore some habits that are actually bad for your children’s health.

Sugar is the main culprit when it comes to unhealthy diet choices for children. The vast majority of the products that are marketed towards children are packed with refined sugar and processed fats, making them a poor choice even for adults. Actually, even when you totally avoid processed foods and you only give your kids food made from scratch, you might still make a few mistakes and offer them too much sugar unknowingly.

Here are five sneaky sugar offenders you should avoid feeding your child.

Dried Fruit

You may think that you are only offering fruit to your child and that it doesn’t have any added sugar, but in fact, dried fruit is a snack that is very high in sugar and should be offered in very limited amounts, or not at all. It may be good as an ingredient in a trail mix when your kids need extra energy.

Flavored Yogurt

Besides fruit puree, flavored yogurt has added sugar and other ingredients that your kid can skip. If your child doesn’t like plain yogurt, it’s a better idea to just add pureed fruit yourself.

Granola and Granola Bars

Granola seems like an ideal choice for your child’s breakfast or mid-day snack, but it is, in fact, one of the sneaky sugar sources we might offer them without knowing. Most granola mix has an added sweetener.

Flavored Milk

Flavored milk is not such a sneaky sugar source, just as flavored yogurt, but many parents are tempted to offer it to their children because it is marketed towards children. It’s generally best to avoid flavored milk and offer plain milk instead. If you must, you can add pureed strawberries, vanilla beans or carob powder for extra flavor.

Smoothies and Juices

One of the sneakiest sources of sugar in a child’s diet are fruit juices and smoothies. It’s generally best to offer fruit as it is, instead of juicing or turning it into smoothies, because of the high sugar amount that is released when breaking the fibers, and the ease with which a child can ingest several fruits when they are not actually chewing them.

Sugar can lead to many health problems for your children, some that may last a lifetime. It is best to avoid any added sugar for as long as possible, which in turn will create a healthy preference for good diet choices. Eliminate sneaky sugar sources from your child’s diet and you will notice how the effects of the sugar excess will disappear. 

Updated: February 6, 2024

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