When it comes to getting three fussy girls to eat healthy options that I prepare, it’s always a bit of a battle. I’m the embarrassing Mum that checks the bars, yoghurts and snacks in the supermarket aisle looking for the lowest sugar options for their school lunchboxes. Most packet options are usually packed with sugar, preservatives and a whole lot of other artificial crap that tastes delicious not to mention can be highly addictive.

Sugar addiction is a real thing and has many short term as well as long term effects on children and adults. In the consult room, Glycation is the effect of long term sugar consumption resulting in the breakdown of Collagen in the skin, leading to deep lines and wrinkles especially around the mouth area (good luck getting rid of  these bad boys). According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, In 2017–18, 1 in 4 (25%) Australian children and adolescents aged 2–17 were overweight…… ALARMING! This isn’t the only concerning thing when it comes to eating too much of the sweet stuff. Sugar is also responsible for poor brain function and foggy thinking, poor concentration, poor memory, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalance, depression, anxiety, tooth decay and inflammation (the list goes on and on).

Packing a lunch box low in added sugar is the food for the brain, giving the kids the energy and brain power they need to get through the day. Your car wouldn’t run on an empty tank, how do you expect a busy brain to run on nothing?  Naturally occurring sugars in dairy (not the “kid” targeted ones), fruit and vegetables is not what I’m talking about here. What I’m talking about are the sugars in pre packaged cakes, muesli bars, chips and other sugary snacks. Don’t be fooled by the organic, gluten free, low fat options either! These so-called ‘healthy snacks’ can sometimes be some of the biggest ring leaders amongst the mammoth amount of clever marketing plastered on every corner of our lives.

There are so many complicated and sneaky names in which sugar can be disguised. Here’s a few of the common top offenders to look out for.

  • Fruit juice
  • Sucrose
  • Molasses
  • Agave syrup
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Sherbet

Basically if the label looks like a whole bunch of hard to pronounce chemicals, then chances are that’s exactly what they are. One of the easiest ways to quickly calculate the sugar content in terms of teaspoons is to divide the sugar per serving by 4 (this isn’t exact but makes it super easy when you’re on the go). Guidelines for daily sugar consumption for adults is 6 teaspoons max and even less for kids, do the maths!

Baking and preparing for lunchboxes is part of our Sunday routine to give us the best possible chance of reducing sugar consumption during the school week. On the weekend I’m a little more relaxed and I believe in everything in moderation!

Baking for three fussy girls still needs to be yummy and appealing or I’m just wasting my time and the food doesn’t get touched. There’s nothing more annoying than putting effort into cooking and it comes home all hot and mushed up in the lunchbox – who can relate?  I figure if I’m avoiding artificial sugar, preservatives and colours we’re one step ahead right? My advice to you would be start by eliminating sugar one meal (or boxed snack) at a time, it might take some time and practice but one thing for sure it’ll all be worth the effort in the end.

We are shaping these small humans from birth & the food choices we present to them now will stick with them for life…addicted as a child = addicted as an adult.

From one Mumma to another, strive for progress rather than perfection & always know you’re doing your very best in every situation to create strong, capable & resilient kids of the future.

Love the girl Mum

JG x