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7 ways to cut sugar from your child’s diet

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Most children eat too much sugar. According to dietary guidelines, added sugar should account for less than 10% of total calories consumed.

Unfortunately, sugar now accounts for about 16% of children’s caloric intake. The American Heart Association recommends that children ages 2 to 18 years old eat less than 25 grams (about 6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day.

Yet before they turn 2 years old, many children are eating upwards of 7 teaspoons of sugar per day.

Experts say excess sugar intake is fueling childhood obesity. Cutting back on your child’s sugar intake will reduce the effects of sugar and improve his overall health and well-being.

1. Limit juice

In many ways, fruit juice is a healthier alternative to soda. But be careful: some ‘juice’ marketed to children and families actually contains a lot of added sugar. And it’s usually processed (refined). Refined sugar enters the bloodstream easier than more complex sugars, such as those found in whole grain and beans. If you notice your child is more active or talkative after a cup of juice or eating a sugar-heavy food, it could be a symptom of too much sugar followed by a rapid rise in blood sugar levels.

2. Cut back on sugary cereal

Sugary breakfast cereals have been marketed to children for decades. If your children love these cereals, getting them to go cold-turkey may be a no-go. Instead, cut back. Try mixing their favorite sugary cereal with a low-sugar cereal that’s similar in shape or texture to create a lower-sugar hybrid. Or, serve cereal fewer days per week. Other easy, less-sugary breakfast options include peanut butter on whole wheat toast and yogurt with chopped fruit.

3. Consistently offer fruits and veggies

Children are born with a preference for sweet tastes. That’s why so many babies and toddlers spit out their first spoonfuls of peas or beans. Children—especially preschoolers—are also creatures of habit. Some will latch onto a few favorite foods and refuse to eat anything else for a period of days or weeks. Experts say children may need to be exposed to a new food 10 to 15 times before they’ll eat it. So, frequently offer fruits and vegetables. Experiment with different preparations—oven-roasted vs. raw cauliflower, for instance.

4. Involve your child in meal prep

Take your child to the grocery store with you and show him how to read labels. Even very young children can be taught to look for the word ‘sugar’ on ingredient lists. Together, choose the healthiest alternatives. Cook and bake together whenever possible. Most home-cooked foods have far less sugar than prepared, packaged foods. You can further decrease your family’s sugar intake by cutting back on the amount of sugar you use when you bake. Try using just 2/3 of the amount in the recipe. You probably won’t notice a difference.

5. Don’t use sweets as a reward

Many parents, teachers and grandparents and others use candy, cookies and other sweets as bribes or incentives to encourage children to do tasks. It’s better to use non-food rewards. When your child reaches a goal, praise his success and give him a hug or high-five. Do something together to celebrate. Your child might appreciate a trip to the park or being allowed to pick a movie for family movie night.

6. Rethink snack time

For many of us, snack time and sweets go hand-in-hand. Cookies and milk, after all, are a time-honored after-school snack. You can decrease your child’s daily sugar intake by expanding your definition of ‘snack.’ Think of snack time as a mini-meal and offer your child nutritious foods that will give him the nutrients he needs to grow. Some good options include a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread and chunks of grapes and cheese.

7. Set an example

If you regularly drink a soda with meals and snack often on cookies and candy, you’re going to have a hard time cutting your child’s sugar intake. Children tend to mimic the habits of those around them, so if you want your child to eat healthier, you’re going to have to eat healthier too. In fact, if you have older kids, you might want to enlist them to help you cut back on sugar before instituting any changes in their diets.

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Lifestyle

Do you know excessive use of mobile phone could lead to memory loss?

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Psychologists have maintained for long that stress can cause amnesia or affect the memory adversely. But that is not the only reason. Excessive use of mobile phones, apparently, can cause memory loss in humans.

When cyber security company Kaspersky Lab conducted a survey of 6,000 mobile phone users, it found that 71 per cent of them can’t remember the phone numbers of their children and 87 per cent can’t recollect the phone numbers of their children’s schools.

According to some of the respondents, losing their Smartphone will cause them to forget what they’ve been up to.

Welcome to the era of ‘digital amnesia’ where our brains are fast losing their ability to remember as we become increasingly reliant on technology to retain data.

Link between smartphone and memory loss

Distraction is one of the key factors that make memories more difficult to form. When we are busy multitasking on our Smartphones and quickly looking for information in multiple apps and notifications, we are only half-focused on learning a new skill. Hence, the information is unlikely to get stored in our long-term memory.

Smartphone addiction can interrupt sleep. We need deep sleep to detoxify our brain. It is only when we are in deep sleep that the brain engages in synaptic pruning—making room for new information by pruning old information. When we have interrupted sleep, synaptic pruning cannot take place, thus, impairing our ability to retain new information and form new memories.

Not just sleep, increased screen time also reduces our IQ significantly, according to the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London.

Memory loss in teenagers

Increasing exposure to mobile devices negatively affects the figural memory of adolescents, revealed a recent study by the researchers at Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH). Figural memory, which helps us make sense of images, patterns and shapes, is located in the right hemisphere of the brain. Hence, teenagers, who hold their phone next to their right ear, are the most affected.

The researchers, who did this study on 700 teenagers, claim that a young developing brain is more susceptible to phone-wave-induced changes up to 15 years of age. They found that on an average, a teen is exposed to 858 mJ/kg of radiation per day when their average call time is 10.6 minutes.

How to overcome digital amnesia?

  • Ensure that you do not carry your mobile phone to bed at night. Keep any such devices out of your sight before sleeping.
  • Turn off notifications and uninstall all non-essential apps.
  • Instead of using GPS everywhere you go, print Google direction maps and try to get to the destination.
  • Observe a screen-free day at least one day a week. On this day, try to avoid using phones for anything else other than making or receiving calls.
  • If you want to do something radical to get rid of Smartphone addiction, get a landline.
  • Potential risks to the brain can be minimised by using headphones or loud speaker while calling, especially when network quality is low and the mobile phone is functioning to its maximum potential.

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Where does Cape Town rank on list of most livable cities in the world?

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Cape Town has been voted as the best city in Africa and the Middle East in the latest edition of Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.

As South Africa’s embattled tourism industry looks ahead to the reopening of international travel – with pressure on source markets to drop pandemic-related restrictions – Cape Town stands ready to benefit from its recently won global acclaim.

Being voted as the best city to travel to in Africa provides a much-needed confidence boost to Cape Town and the international tourists who are looking to visit the Mother City. This adds to the positive signs of Cape Town International Airport showing the quickest post-lockdown rebound in passenger volumes.

As part of its annual World’s Best Awards, Travel + Leisure relies on its readers to vote across 11 categories. The survey was open for voting between January and May 2021, “as destinations around the world were lifting Covid-19 restrictions.”

But for South Africa, restrictions have remained tight throughout the year, spurred mainly by fears over the Beta variant. Luckily for South Africa and Cape Town, respondents have been allowed “to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period.”

Although Cape Town is ranked as the 20th best livable city in the world – out of 25 detailed by Travel + Leisure in between Triesta in Italy and Tokyo in Japan – it shines in the regional rankings.

In the Africa rankings, Cape Town comes first, followed by Marrakesh in Morocco. Fez and Essaouira, both in Morocco, also feature in the top ten, while Cape Town represents the only city in South Africa.

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Lifestyle

8 signs of depression you should never ignore

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Everyone feels sad once in a while. If you’re feeling lower than usual or the feeling never ceases, you may wonder if you are depressed.

Depression is a mental illness that many people don’t even know they have. It can leave its victims extremely unhappy and even suicidal.

Let’s go over the causes, signs, and treatment of depression.

Researchers have identified some genes that can make a person susceptible to depression. Depression has also been linked to the parts of the brain that affect emotions and memory.

Symptoms

No age group is more likely to get depression, it can appear at any age, and the symptoms vary from person to person. People who have depression often have symptoms that affect their daily activities, but this is not always the case. Some of the symptoms are just things we regularly experience, but if you are experiencing several symptoms for long periods, it is most likely depression. Below are some common signs of depression you should not ignore

  1. Feelings of hopelessness
  2. Avoiding family and friends
  3. Trouble sleeping or excessive sleep
  4. Fatigue and loss of motivation
  5. Loss of appetite or excessive eating
  6. Difficulty with concentration
  7. Neglecting daily activities
  8. Suicidal thoughts

Do you have the symptoms of depression, or do you know someone who does?

Treatment is available, and it can help you feel a lot better. Depression can be treated with therapy when you talk to a professional. Medications like antidepressants can also help you manage depression and stress. You can also talk to someone really close to you about how you are feeling.

The feeling of getting it off your chest will make you feel a lot better, and you might receive some good advice.

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