Putting your family on a low-sugar diet for a day shouldn't mean tons of extra work for you. Get ready to read labels and make smart choices to keep excess sugar out of your kids' meals. Sugar is hidden in everything, but by serving your family simple meals based on lean proteins and whole grains, you can take a break from sugar and boost your family's overall health.
Getting the sugar out of breakfast can be tough, with so many sweet cereals on the market, but you can do it if you focus on proteins. Cook some quick scrambled eggs for your family to give them a protein-packed meal without lots of sugar. Add flavor to the eggs by scrambling them with a tablespoon or two of bacon ranch dressing. Or offer up some instant oatmeal that is low in sugar. Make a quick breakfast smoothie by tossing a bunch of fruit with some plain, unsweetened yogurt in a blender.
Make some quick, simple sandwiches for lunch with whole wheat bread and sliced deli meats or cheese to steer your family clear of sugar. If your kids are hooked on P, B & J, make a low-sugar option with peanut butter made without added sugar and sugar-free jam. Toss together a large salad full of whatever veggies your kids will actually eat, such as spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and baby carrots and serve it with creamy dressing.
You can't go wrong at dinner time with a lean protein, such as a baked chicken breast seasoned with dried herbs and spices, served with steamed or fresh vegetables and a whole grain pasta or brown rice on the side. Some kid favorites, such as macaroni and cheese and pizza, are also low in sugar and especially healthy if you choose whole wheat noodles and pizza crust.
Low-sugar snacks can be tough to find. Offer your kids fresh veggie sticks alongside a tasty salad dressing or hummus for dipping. Popcorn and nuts make for low-sugar snacks that are satisfyingly crunchy and filling. On a hot day, replace your little one's favorite frozen ice pops with a frozen banana for a low-sugar, healthier chilled treat.
If your kids are hooked on chocolate milk, juice boxes or sodas, their drinking choices can add seriously large amounts of sugar to their diet with no nutritional payoff. Offer plain milk when you can to give your kids a low-sugar, healthy beverage option. Or make some naturally sweetened beverages by filling a pitcher with water and tossing in cubed watermelon or strawberries or plenty of freshly squeezed lemon. (See reference 4.)