When it comes to no added sugar snacks, what we put in is as important as what we leave out. Our mission at Once Upon a Farm is to provide the most nutritious foods available on the market to as many children as possible. Although having a mentality of balance is important for both our own wellbeing (as well as our kid’s wellbeing), we take the stance of no added sugar for our products, your kiddos are sweet enough.
So, what DO we put into our fruit & veggie blends and smoothies? We use farm-fresh ingredients that are as close to their natural state as possible to let the natural flavors shine through, developing a love of fresh starting from a young age.
Here are a few sugar stats:
• Although more and more education continues to surface on the detriments of a high sugar diet, as a society, on average, sugar comprises 17% of what kids consume each day (1)
• Almost 61% of infants and almost all toddlers (98%!) consume added sugar in their average daily diets (2)
• Eating too much sugar puts kids at risk for various health complications including obesity, heart disease, tooth decay, among many other health issues (3)
• Due to the continuous research surfacing on health issues associated with high sugar intake, the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans now recommends that no added sugar is given to infants and toddlers before age two. (4)
As parents, we may be aware that giving our kids that fruit juice, soda, cookie, etc., may not be the best overall choice for them in terms of nutrition, but there are various factors that make it challenging to “sayonara to sweets.” It’s in a majority of kid’s products on the market, it’s the only thing our kids will eat without throwing a tantrum, or it tends to be the lowest price item on the shelf. So how can we make incrementally better choices without necessarily ripping the band-aid off?
Luckily, kid’s palates are not so sophisticated to be able to tell the difference between “types” of sugars. they may easily tell you they like it because it is “sweet” but they probably won’t be able to decipher the differences of where that sweetness came from. Parents can use this to our advantage by switching try switching it up to something less processed…
Here are a few refined sugar alternatives:
• maple syrup
Some experts say bodies process different types of sugars in much the same way, (5) some sugars are more refined than others, stripping out critical micro and macro-nutrients that may help to better regulate blood sugar. So, although at the molecular level, that sugar from corn syrup may process similar to that sugar in a date, the date is still the better choice as it contains more vitamins, minerals, and added fiber for extra nutrition, nutrient absorption, and blood sugar regulation. Although it may be challenging to find less processed items on store shelves, lots of brands are out there that offer the convenience of shipping straight to your door.
As a mom of three, I wanted to make sure you had the option of finding these healthy alternatives both at the Supermarket and with the convenience of having them shipped directly to your door. I’ve made it part of our mission to ensure we have great tasting products that your kids will love, with no added sugars, so you can feel even better about the choice. The sweetness from our food only comes from whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables such as apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, bananas, dates, and even coconuts.
By starting our kids off with a taste of what food actually tastes like, without masking flavors with high amounts of added sugars, we are not only nourishing bodies with powerful nutrition in every bite, we are setting the foundation for a lifetime of healthy eating. In addition, we are priming their palates for a preference for wholesome, unrefined foods. That’s an investment we can feel good about.