Okay. You have probably noticed from my social media posts that we have been experiencing with sugar free recipes so I thought before I shared some of our favorite sugar free or limited sugar recipes (including the MOST amazing almost-sugar free ice-cream recipe) I would explain why since this is usually the first question anyone asks…
My Daughter Kendall has been throwing the most horrific tantrums. Not normal, out of body tantrums. They seriously make me feel like we are failing as her parents.
I know tantrums are normal in young kids but I would venture to bet Kendall’s are on the worse side of the spectrum.
Of course these tantrums don’t get blasted all over social media so when you see her in photos you see a spirited beautiful little girl which she OF COURSE IS but when she is in the middle of her tantrum there is NO reasoning with her and it is almost impossible to help her calm down.
That beautiful sweet little girl disappears and it breaks my heart.
Here she is. Throwing a fit. Notice how it is NOT phasing the others. Yay. They are pretty used to it. Looks fun right?
If there has been an article written about how to manage the terrible two’s / threes or how to manage a tantrum I have probably read it. I literally read no less than one article related to this topic a day.
Books have also been explored.
Going sugar free came out of desperation. It was not because I wanted to be some cool mom following a new trend. I was willing to try anything to help my daughter better control her emotions thus bringing down the amount of tantrums she would throw. That was my only hope in this process.
I can’t say there was an immediate change but after a week there was NO DENYING that eliminating/cutting back on sugar in her diet significantly decreased her tantrums. like SERIOUSLY.
Greg and I still can’t believe the difference it has made.
Once we saw how it changed her behavior we really had NO choice. We were all in.
Greg and I got to work and cleaned out our pantry of ALL things that we felt like had an excess of sugar. By far the hardest thing we cut out was Cereal.
Mornings in our house can be early, rushed and chaotic. They liked cereal. It was fast and since I thought I was only feeding them the “healthy” kind I approved.
But after I researched how much sugar was in their cereal I had to remove it from their diets which now commits us to making them a hot breakfast each morning. You want some comic relief come to my house say around 6:30am…(FIRE DRILL and getting back into the routine from Christmas break has been PAINFUL).
After we committed it was then time for me to do some more sugar research. Here are a few things I learned: (Thank you American Heart Association)
- American teens are consuming a WHOOPING 28 teaspoons of added sugar a day! (This is close to 500 calories just from added sugar, or the equivalent of three, 12 ounce cans of soda)
- “Added sugar is ANY kind of sugar added during food processing or by the consumer at the point of consumption” / Added sugars are considered to be high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, corn syrup, corn sugar, dextrose and crystalline frusctose. (these are the most common names – Sugar actually is disguised in your food under 57 other names)
- YES. There is sugar in fruit. In my option I don’t think all sugars should be treated equally. Kendall still eats plenty of sugar through fruits. We don’t limit this type of sugar. We only limit refined sugar.
- So know you are probably wondering what refined sugar is… Here is my explanation:
- When sugar is manufactured it involves a process called refining during which impurities and colored components are removed. The starting product called raw sugar is softened and dissolved. The components are then separated to yield the white, pure sugar that you would recognize in your cupboard. Of course during the refinement process you get either: Granulated sugar, powdered sugar, sanding sugar, and super refined sugar.
- Refined sugars offer only EMPTY calories and they lack other nutrients and minerals. In addition, they can drain the body of nutrients because they are hard to digest. Refined sugars again are packed under 57 different names.
- So the next thing I had to figure out is how much sugar is Kendall supposed to have. Here are the guidelines from The American Heart Association:
- Pre-School children averaging 1,200-1,400 calories per day should only have no more than 4 teaspoons (16 grams) per day.
- Children ages 4-8 who average 1,600 calories per day should limit added sugar to about 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day. To fit in all the nutritional requirements for this age group, there are fewer available for added sugar.
- Pre-teen and teens averaging 1,800-2,000 calories per day should not have more than 5-8 teaspoons (20-32 grams) of added sugar. (REMEMBER WHAT THE AVERAGE CURRENTLY IS FOR TEENAGERS? 28 teaspoons or 112 grams)
- 1 teaspoon = 4 grams
Clearly if you do what I did and take a deeper look at what you are feeding your kids (even if you think it is the healthier option) you will find that you are feeding them more sugar than you think.
A quick snapshot of what Kendall ate prior:
- Kellogg’s Special K – Red Berries: One bowl of cereal = 18grams of sugar. At breakfast she would eat more than her recommended daily limit.
- Lunchable: 5 gram of sugar (this is without the added piece of candy or cookie)
- Caprisun roaring water (you know the flavored water beverage) = 8 grams per pouch
- Go-Gurt = 9 grams of added sugar
- One 8 oz cup of apple juice = 28g of refined added sugar. (I am sorry. My mistake I thought apples were naturally sweet?!?!?!)
- Whole wheat bread. One slice = 2 grams of added sugar
- Sun Chips (individual bags) = 4 grams of added sugar.
- Starbucks pumpkin loaf=39 grams of added sugar
- Starbucks Lemon Loaf = 42 grams
Prior to getting rid of these foods from her diet it wouldn't be a weird day if she would have eaten all of the above prior to dinner (with one exception she either got a lemon loaf OR pumpkin loaf at Starbucks but not both).
Her diet prior to lunch looked like the following:
- Breakfast: Special K red berries
- School Snack: Animal Crackers (served by the school)
- Lunch: Turkey Sandwich or lunchable with carrots, ranch, go-gurt, sun chips, Fruit (apple or orange) served with a Capri sun.
- After School Snack: Starbucks (Lemon Loaf or Pumpkin Loaf)
I did the math for you…
Prior to cutting back on sugar we were feeding our daughter 115 grams of added sugar and this isnt including any sugar that would have been served with dinner!
I don’t mean to be dramatic but what an eye opening experience this has been for me. It almost took my breath away and I felt like we were poisoning her (enter dramatic music).
But in all reality – DUH.
No wonder she was throwing these fits. We could only blame ourselves.
Looking back I honestly think that when we went cold turkey – NO SUGAR with her (or I guess I should say limited sugar) she had withdraws. She would literally BEG Greg and I for a doughnut, sucker, or candy… she didn't care. She just wanted some form of sugar.
Limiting sugar in our daughter has been a game changer.
It has changed everything about the way we cook, shop, and even live each day but I wouldn't go back.
Kendall still throws tantrums. She will. They won’t all go away by changing her diet. She is TWO. I get that. But the severity of the tantrums has changed.
With sugar – AWFUL.
Without – Manageable.
Know you now the WHY’s behind our new SUGARFREE (or limited sugar) foods we keep posting about.
Hopefully I was able to pass on what I have learned about the whole sugar thing to you and your eyes are slightly more open. The next step is to take my dare…
I DARE YOU to take a look at your diet and / or your kids diet and see just how much sugar you are consuming.
I would love to hear what you learn!
Just in case you think we are perfect. Here is proof we are FAR from it. This ia a photo of Mason eating a doughnut after Kendall went to bed.
1 doughnut = 50 grams of sugar