Soft drinks companies and other processed food companies are making more ads with foods they claim to be natural and able to give your child a forever smile but they don’t really have anything new to offer except more sugar. Kids have a sweet tooth and candy tastes to them like a natural pain killer that fixes all problems. Sugar is just as bad for kids as it is for adults which is why you need to get them to eat healthy foods that improves their health and development by giving them something more than just calories. It may be hard to keep children on a sugar-free diet but you can at least cut down on that sugar by adopting healthier alternatives and these 10 will be a great start.
When the days get hot, most kids crave a popsicle and many parents give in to the craving but it is one of the easiest sugary candies to replace. You can make your own popsicles without putting in any added sugar. Just convert your child’s favourite fresh fruit juice into a popsicle in your freezer cutting down on both the cost of candy and the sugar your child consumes. You can make it better by creating interesting popsicle shapes and colours and adding in some fresh fruits that they will enjoy chewing on. You can also go for yoghurt bars as an alternative to popsicles.
Yes! Popcorn is not the healthiest of foods but the alternative is worse so you have to go with the lesser evil on this one. Most processed popcorn from the store are flavoured with unhealthy amounts of sugar so it is safer to take the time and pop your own popcorn at home. Popcorn made from whole grain is nutritious and kids will always love it if you salt it up nicely and top it with their favourite cheese or butter.
Greek Yoghurt/Natural Plain Yoghurt
There are lots of sweetened yoghurts that are marketed for children which contain way more sugar than the calcium and protein they are supposed to offer. The non-sweetened yoghurt may sound like an adult treat but it is healthier than the sugary ones so just hype it and top it so that they will love it. Yoghurt is still a healthy snack that will help your children’s bone development and healthy protein. They may not like it without some toppings so you can put some diced or dried fruits in there or nuts to give it the crunch they will love.
Whole-Wheat Toast And Peanut Butter
This is the good old healthy snack that you just can’t go wrong with. Children like peanut butter and it is a great source of protein and healthy fat unless they are allergic to peanuts in which case you will have to get an alternative spread for the toast in butter or cheese. If they need more sweetness, then you can top it up with some honey, but don’t go for jams and jellies because the result will be cavities and lots of calories and nothing more. Jam also increases children’s cravings for sweets which will only leave them asking for more candy.
Lots Of Fruits
Children love candy but if it is not an option, they will definitely settle for a fruit. When you go grocery shopping, you should bring the kids along and observe the fruits they like and even if they don’t fancy your favourite fruits, you can encourage them or settle for alternatives. You should then swap their candy canisters with fruit bowls and make sure they are easily reachable so that they can have a bite on them between meals whenever they have cravings. It won’t be long before their candy cravings are replaced with the love of fruits. Dried and diced fruits can also make a great alternative to candies, so you should stock up on those whenever you can.
Make Home Made Trail Mix
Many stores now sell their trail mix, but you will find more sugary milk chocolate and other sweeteners that are not healthy so it is safer to make your own trail mix at home. Trail Mix is not a difficult snack to put together. Just buy healthy nuts that they will like or a mixture if they don’t have a favourite and add your most loved seeds and dried fruits. You can add other healthy seasonings if you have any at home and just make them as palatable as you can but healthier than the sugared store varieties.
Forget those packets of on-the-go oatmeal laden with sugar and preservatives, your child deserves a healthier version. Oatmeal always makes a great breakfast rich in fibre and soluble minerals and vitamins that your child’s body actually needs. You can make your own oatmeal at home using whole rolled oats and some milk or water if they don’t like milk. You can sweeten it up further with diced fruits or serve whole fruits on the side and flavour up the oatmeal with cinnamon instead.
Smoothies are one of the best hacks for parents, especially when dealing with picky eaters. You can pack lots of nutrients in every single serving without the child realizing that the fruits and veggies they don’t fancy being in there. Just make sure that the final taste tends more towards whatever fruit they like, and if you need a neutral one, you can always add your favourite healthy topping and still get them to enjoy.
Eggs And Anything That Goes with Them
Choline is a vital vitamin to brain development and eggs have it in plenty. Eggs are also an excellent source of highly digestible protein that help children grow up healthy. It is wise to keep boiled eggs in the refrigerator which they can eat at any time they crave candies. Adding diced fruits, oats, honey and nuts to create a more interesting meal will make it more fun.
Raisin Snack Packs
Raisins can go with anything from celery and peanut butter to your veggie pitta pockets and kids will love them. They make perfect alternatives to candy because they are just dried grapes that pack all the nutrient content of fresh grapes except for the water. You can replace those candy bags with raisin packs and have your children chewing on something that gives them useful vitamins, iron, calcium and fibre and not just calories.
Do you know of any other alternatives to processed and sugary foods? If you do why not tell us about them in the comments below.