There are definitely times when having a health coach for a mom isn’t too much fun for my tween daughter. She has however, become very aware of what she puts into her body and is an avid label reader. I am very proud of how far she has come and has embraced eliminating so many harmful chemicals from her diet. Right now she is on a Brussels sprouts kick. We have to have them every night! Her sugar consumption has been cut way down. We all know cutting sugar completely from a diet, especially for a kid, is next to impossible. She is still a kid and is still swayed by colorful advertising at times.
Our biggest challenges rise when we go out to eat. There are no nutrition labels to read, so the awareness she has at the grocery store is lost at a restaurant. I am sure you can relate to this in your own restaurant habits.
During a recent shopping trip my daughter wanted to stop at the conveniently located Starbucks inside our local Target. She has seen all the latest advertising on the new flavors of Frappuccinos that just came out. It was hot outside, she was probably a little hungry, and most likely dehydrated from not drinking enough water that day. The perfect storm for a poor eating choice. Does this scenario sound familiar? That pretty pink Cotton Candy flavor was calling her name. Me, being the health coach mom that I am, decided to pull up the Starbucks website to look at the nutrition label of that pretty pink frosty beverage. I knew it wouldn’t be good but was shocked at how bad it was. Inside that 16 oz of pink coldness was 430 calories, 16 g of fat, 250 mg of sodium, and 66 g of sugar! That is over 16 1/2 teaspoons of sugar. Would you willingly pour out over 16 teaspoons of sugar and place it in a bowl in front of your child and tell them to eat it? Would you knowingly sit and eat that much sugar in one sitting, spoonful after spoonful? I am not even mentioning all the artificial colors, flavors and other various chemicals that they don’t tell you are inside. Needless to say, this mom said no to the plastic cup full of pink sugar.
So for fun I decided to look up the other flavors that kids and adults might be attracted to:
Cupcake Creme – 16 oz
420 calories, 16 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 63 g of sugar or about 16 teaspoons
Red Velvet Cake – 16 oz
480 calories, 18 g fat, 260 mg sodium, 70 g of sugar or about 17 1/2 teaspoons
And the winning flavor of almost making me drop my phone in horror was………..
Cinnamon Roll – 16 oz
510 calories, 16 g fat, 250 mg sodium, and a whopping 85 g of sugar!!! That is a little more than 21 teaspoons of sugar or almost 1/2 cup!!! My stomach hurts just thinking about it.
According to the World Health Organization, the daily recommended intake of sugar for an adult is 25 grams or 6 teaspoons. So that one drink, that you might buy without even a second thought, contains about 1/4 of your recommended daily calorie intake, and more than 3 times the amount of sugar you should eat for an entire day! What if you bought one of these drinks each week all summer long? You would be adding an extra pound of sugar to your diet each month. That is just one drink a week. You do the math for each additional drink a week. It should scare you! Combine this with all the other sugar you are consuming in things like soda, yogurt, candy, breakfast cereal, cookies, plus the sugar that is hidden in things like tomato sauce, energy bars, and salad dressing to name a few, and you can just imagine how many pounds of sugar you and your family are consuming on a weekly basis. It is not surprising that we are faced with an obesity and diabetes crisis in this country. Our children are fighting chronic diseases that were unheard of several years ago. When I was in elementary school, you could count on one hand the number of obese kids in our school. Visit any school in the US now and you would lose count.
Bottom line – When you are eating in a restaurant ask questions, ask to see nutrition information or use the power of Google before you order anything.
If you truly need a pick-me-up, order an iced coffee so you can control what goes inside. If your child is bugging you for something cold and sweet then try a frozen yogurt. Limit the portion size to about 1/2 cup or less and say no to toppings. The sugar content would roughly be around 17 g.
I understand fully how hard it is to say no to your kids. My daughter would get mad at me all the time when I put my foot down on certain food items. Now it has become a way of life. She has noticed the change in how she feels without being pumped full of chemicals and sugar. She is not completely deprived of “junk” food, we are just very selective on what gets bought. Yes, there is ice cream in our house, but it is one with very limited ingredients and the portion size is limited too. Learn to set limits for yourself and your family. You need to set the example for your children. Remember, it is okay to say no to your children.