It’s Easter! Those Easter baskets will soon brim with all sorts of sugary goodies. The question is, how much is too much sugar during our holidays? From Halloween to Valentine’s Day and now Easter, there’s a lot of chocolate being consumed.
Two experts team up to help families with young children think about how much sugar they’re consuming during this chocolate-laden holiday. The Shady Pines Story Town online community uses stories and activities to inspire young kids to make good choices. www.shadypinesstorytown.com. It’s founder, Mary Jane McKittrick, talks with Mary Trybuskiewicz, a nutrition expert who specializes in coaching and advising families.
Mary Jane McKittrick, Founder of Shady Pines Story Town: “We know kids love Easter and those fun tasty treats they uncover during their search. Because we take on life lessons in every Shady Pines story, we took on the issue of too much sugar in our Shady Pines Easter Egg Hunt Story.”
“So Mary, what’s the downside when children eat all those sugary treats?”
Mary Trybuskiewicz RD, LDN (Registered Dietitian & Certified Health Coach/Nutritionist)
Mary: “It’s so true, Mary Jane. Easter usually brings to mind chocolate bunnies, foil covered eggs, and jelly beans, right?”
Mary Jane: “Right.”
Mary: “Here’s the deal. Too many goodies at once can trigger blood sugar issues (like melt downs and moodiness), and grumpy children.
Mary Jane: “That’s not good. What should parents do?”
Mary: Maybe we could rethink this a little. What if parents substitute colorful fruits like chunks of strawberries, blueberries, red and green grapes? Maybe instead of a bunch of bunnies, kids are given only had 1 small (dark) chocolate bunny. Why not substitute small toys, stickers, foil covered nuts (for children over 2 years old) or stuffed animals in those Easter baskets? We would have quite a few less melt downs as the day went on, and they last much longer than sweet treats do.
Mary Jane: “That makes sense. In our story we showed that alternatives are a good idea. Even using real, colorful eggs, is better than too many sweets.”
Mary: “So true. Because the sweet treats are not only loaded with artificial colors, and flavors (which are petroleum-based food additives) but also lots and lots of SUGAR. So why do we pick on sugar. Here are some reasons why:
- Sugar has no nutritional value, and nutrients like vitamins, minerals and protein are what build a strong, healthy body.
- Sugar is often found in processed foods, which tends to crowd out the natural, healthy foods kids would otherwise be eating.
- You could eat 4 strawberries instead of 1 chocolate Easter egg. It’s the same caloric content but the strawberries are packed with fiber and vitamin C for growing bodies. The chocolate egg is just empty calories.
Mary Jane: “So what’s a parent to do when their child is demanding more and more Easter chocolate?”
- When you decrease sugar intake your cravings for sugar decrease, and when you increase sugar intake those cravings go up too. Its supply and demand.
- Sugar disrupts the natural environment in your gut, allowing the bad bacteria to thrive, crowding out the good bacteria. This is called dysbiosis and can cause many different stomach and digestive issues for people.
Mary Jane: “Can you give me some examples?”
Mary: “Sure. Here are two good reasons why eating sugar late in the day leads to trouble.
- It promotes tooth decay, especially sticky, gooey foods that stick to your teeth and aren’t washed away easily by the saliva in your mouth.
- Sugary foods eaten right after dinner too close to bedtime or can interrupt a good night’s sleep. That much sugar causes our bodies to work overtime while we sleep, cleaning out the garbage, regenerating damaged tissues and cells. Our kids need a good night’s sleep to stay healthy!”
Mary Jane: “Thank you Mary for giving all of us some Food For Thought this Easter. If folks have more questions, how can they reach you?”
Mary: “They can reach me at: 910 777-7559 or, email: Eattherainbowrd@gmail.com
To schedule a telehealth phone call with Mary: http://eattherainbowrd.com
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