Eating products with sugar, from yogurt and drinks to breakfast cereals to chocolate and candy, promotes diabetes, obesity, mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Children who eat a lot of sugar have low immunity and often develop bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Doctors suspect that a diet rich in simple sugars promotes allergies and asthma. Toddlers who eat sweets every day tend to have problems with the digestive system, tooth decay, and more often suffer from parasites in their bodies. And what about the benefits of eating sugar? There are none. So let’s see how you can replace sugar in your little one’s diet.
What to Replace Sugar With?
The simplest way to replace sugar is to use honey (natural, not artificial). Remember, however, that this product contains fructose, so large amounts of it are also not recommended. The advantage of honey is that it also contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Honey cannot be given to children under the age of two, nor should it be mixed with hot drinks, as it loses its health properties.
You can use xylitol instead of sugar. It is obtained from birch bark. It has antibacterial and immunity-enhancing properties and is recommended for allergy sufferers. Xylitol also reduces the development of tooth decay so it is even used in toothpastes. As in the case of honey, it can be eaten by children under the age of two.
Maple syrup is another healthier sugar substitute. It is not free from simple sugars (contains a lot of sucrose), but it has fewer calories than honey, and a lot of vitamins, antioxidants, and microelements. It is healthier than white sugar, but you should not overdo it.
When looking for a healthier sugar alternative, consider stevia. It is an extremely sweet, low-calorie leafy plant. It is sweeter than white sugar by about 300 times, so a small amount is enough to sweeten, e.g., tea. It does not cause decay and has bactericidal and fungicidal properties. It also contains minerals, B vitamins, and vitamins C and A.
What to Replace Sweets With?
Here are some ideas:
- Dried fruits are great substitutes for sweets. Dates are especially sweet, but plums, apricots, and figs are also delicious and healthy.
- Your child will probably enjoy fruit smoothies (preferably not additionally sweetened), fruit chips, and fresh fruit.
- Homemade, sugar-free sweets, such as granola bars and desserts based on yogurt or avocado, are the best baby snacks, which are also delicious. Try making homemade granola with dried fruits and nuts for a walk. Choose nuts and dried fruit that your children like, sweeten the granola with honey, and knead it well before baking so that it breaks into pieces.
- Homemade biscuits without sugar. You can bake homemade cookies yourself using honey, maple or date syrup to sweeten them.
- Energy balls made of, for example, millet, oat flakes, linseed, and expanded buckwheat, with the addition of dried fruit, ground nuts, seeds, and maple syrup are a great idea for healthy sweet snacks for children.