7 "Healthy" Kids Foods That Are Packed With Sugar
Yogurt is rich in protein and calcium, which are essential for growing children. Plus, many contain fruit. However, the median sugar content of a 100-gram cup of yogurt falls between 10 and 13 grams. That’s approximately 3 teaspoons, which is half of the daily recommended amount of sugar for children over the age of 2.
Instead of buying sweetened yogurt for your kids, opt for the plain variety. Add some fresh berries for sweetness and antioxidants.
All breakfast cereals aren’t loaded with sugar, but you’ll have to do some investigating to find the healthiest options. Even if the cereal doesn’t seem like junk food, it could be packed with sweetness. Look at the nutrition label to verify how much sugar the cereal has. Some of the worst “healthy” offenders include:
- Cheerios Protein Oats and Honey
- Kellogg’s Smart Start Strong Heart Antioxidants
- Quaker Real Medleys Cherry Almond Pecan Multigrain
- Kashi GoLean Crunch
- Kellogg’s Raisin Bran
- Kellogg’s Special K Fruit and Yogurt
Children should eat fruit. However, they should balance out their intake with vegetables. When you do offer your kids fruit, you might want to stick to fresh produce instead of cans or fruit cups.
Many fruit cups are preserved in light syrup. A 4-ounce cup of fruit might contain 15 grams of sugar. If you’re looking for a convenient way to add fruit to your kids’ lunches, try the options with no added sugar. You can also chop up apples, oranges or pears for a healthier version.
Many parents are limiting dairy in their infants’ diets. You might think that you have to substitute cow’s milk with plant-based milk. However, that’s like comparing apples to oranges.
Plant milks, such as rice and almond milk, don’t usually have a dense nutritional profile. Moreover, the sweetened versions contain loads of sugar. You’ll find about 14 grams of sugar in sweetened vanilla almond milk. Chocolate versions may contain more. Rice milk contains approximately the same amount of sugar.
Hemp milk contains only about 6 grams of sugar. It may be a better option if you’re trying to limit the sweet stuff. You can also make your own nut milks by blending almonds or hemp hearts in a high-powered blender with water until the solids are completely pulverized. Then, strain the liquid through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
If your little one is under a year old, you should still be offering a high-quality formula, which provides more nutritional benefits than alternative milks.
All applesauce is not created equal. Sweetened varieties may contain up to 36 grams of the white stuff per cup. Plus, many popular brands use high fructose corn syrup, which can be worse for a child’s health than cane sugar.
Applesauce also has less fiber than a fresh apple. Therefore, your little one might be better off eating apple slices than packaged puree. If you choose applesauce for convenience, look for unsweetened versions.
One of the reasons that some energy bars fuel you so quickly is that they’re laden with sugar. Many parents feel confident slipping these into their children’s snacks or lunches because they seem to have well-rounded macronutrient ratios.
Some energy bars are protein-heavy. Others contain tons of carbs. Consider looking for a variety that’s made for kids. Some contain more protein than a child needs in one sitting. Look at the nutrition label to make sure that it doesn’t have too much sugar, though.
One of the most misleading “healthy” foods is juice. You might think that you’re dosing your child up with multiple servings of fruit. However, many juices are pure sugar. They often contain just as much sweet stuff as a can of soda. The vitamins and minerals make them a better choice than a soft drink.
One cup of orange juice contains 21 grams of sugar, which is the equivalent of about 5 teaspoons. Encourage your children to drink water. Sweeten it with fresh fruit, such as watermelon, citrus or peaches.
We've covered the seven "healthy" snacks for kids that are loaded with sugar. But did you know that baby formula contains sugar? That’s not the worst thing in the world. One cup of breast milk contains 17 grams of sugar. The sweet stuff gives your infant energy and easier to digest than other types of carbohydrates.
However, as we mentioned above, some types of sugar are better than others. Almost all of the carbohydrates in breast milk come from lactose. Some baby formulas also use lactose, while others contain sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup.
Sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup are sweeter than lactose. Manufacturers often add them to formula to make it more palatable and encourage the baby to drink it. Holle infant formula doesn’t contain corn syrup. Organic formulas from the EU are prohibited from having corn syrup as an ingredient.
At Tastyganics, we aim to promote the health of your child and your family. We understand that you want the best for your little one, and we want to help you achieve that with the best baby care products available.
- Jennifer Akiyama