The American Heart Association recommends that children consume less than 25 grams of added sugar per day. That’s exactly six teaspoons. But kids love sweets, and there’s no need to eliminate them entirely. It’s all about minding the portions.
How can you help your kids be mindful and enjoy sugar in moderation?
One great way is to swap out packaged sweets for home-baked treats, and to do the baking together with your kids. Many store-bought foods are overloaded with sugar. But if you bake some of the very same treats with your kids instead, you can control how much -- or how little -- sugar you use.
Bonus: you get to spend time together. Spending time with your children, especially when baking, is a great way to teach the importance of healthy eating or being mindful of the foods they are placing into your bodies. And it’s fun!
Here are two of my favorite ways to control the sugar in home-baked treats:
1- Measure out smaller amounts of sugar than a recipe calls for.
2- Use ingredients that are naturally lower in sugar: fruits like raspberries and strawberries, for example, and 80% dark chocolate or above.
Ready to try? These three easy recipes are always a big hit to bake, and to eat:
Fruit with chocolate shavings and you can add cool whip for a little fun.
Ricotta Cheese cookies serving of 30 -40 cookies
1 ricotta (whole)
½ cup of sugar
1 cup of butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon of vanilla
4 teaspoons of baking powder
3.5 cups of flour
and mix together. Add one tablespoon at a time of flour; mix in baking powder and continue to mix batter with beater. Once the mixture has all the added ingredients, use a tablespoon to gather the mixture onto your hands and make a ball. A tip in making the batter not stick to your hands is to add a little water to your hands then work with the batter to form a ball. Once completed, cover a tray with parchment paper and place the ricotta cookies on the tray. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes.
1 cup of sugar
8 ounces of oil
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoons of cinnamon
4 medium size apples- peeled and sliced
Beat eggs and sugar together until fluffy and then add the rest of the ingredients. Using a glass tray covered with parchment paper, add half of the mixture. Place the sliced apples into the mixture and add the remaining mixture to cover the sliced apples.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place tray in the oven for 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick to see if the cake is baked through. If the toothpick is dry then the cake is done.
By Maria Sofia, author of Mommy Can I Eat This?
About Maria Sofia
Maria Sofia’s life mission—inspired by her personal struggles with weight loss and a sugar addiction—is to educate parents and teachers on the importance of teaching nutrition to young children so they can make better choices throughout their lives. A certified health coach and angel intuitive, she holds accreditation from the Center of Excellence (UK) in angel and animal reiki, intuitive healing, medical intuition and meditation. She is currently working toward her PhD in holistic health at the California Institute for Human Science, and lives in Toronto.