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Easy Ways to Trim Sugar in Children’s Diets & Get More Exercise

Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the last 50 years, and too much sugar and fat in children’s diets is largely to blame.
Many children are getting excessive amounts of sugar every day from sodas, cookies and snack cakes, candy and other calorie-rich desserts such as puddings and ice cream, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
At the same time, children aren’t getting enough nutrition-packed foods such as whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables. They’re also not exercising enough.
Here are 5 easy ways to cut down on sugar in children’s diets:
Eat whole fruits and vegetables. A whole apple has lots of fiber and other nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies and offset the naturally occurring sugar, whereas a glass of apple juice doesn’t.
  1. Cut back on sugary drinks. Soda, fruit punch, lemonade and many juice drinks can have 40 grams of sugar or more. Instead, choose water, milk or low-calorie drinks such as NADI rosehip drink, which has just 9 calories and zero sugar.
  2. Bring snacks from home. Instead of reaching for empty calories like pretzels or potato chips, pack healthier snacks from home such as carrot sticks and cheese.
  3. Cook at home. Food at restaurants tends to have more calories and more sugar than foods you prepare at home, and dipping sauces and condiments such as ketchup and barbecue sauce can have the equivalent of 1 tablespoon or more of sugar per serving.
  4. Avoid processed foods. Anything wrapped in cellophane that can sit at room temperature for months or can be kept in a refrigerator for months probably has lots of preservatives or added sugar. Cooking from scratch lets you control exactly what goes into your food.
Kids also need to stay active and get more exercise as part of a healthier lifestyle.
Here are 5 ways to help children get the exercise their growing bodies need:
  1. Take walks. Walking to school or taking a walk as a family on the weekends is a great way to keep everyone healthy and fit.
  2. Play outside. Shooting hoops, playing catch or using sidewalk chalk to make a game of hopscotch will keep little ones active.
  3. Fly kites. Running around a large open field to keep kites aloft is terrific exercise.
  4. Park far away. When running errands or bringing children to athletic events, park on the far side of the parking lot to get some extra steps.
  5. Do chores together. Vacuuming, putting away laundry and picking up toys are great exercise and doing chores together teaches children responsibility.