Putting an End to Dinner-time Dessert Woes

It’s dinner time. You are ready to call everyone to the dinner table. But then you hear that all too familiar “khaane mein kya hai?” and you feel yourself getting ready for a fight.

In this fight between parents and kids, it is “treats” that ultimately win. As parents, we end up bribing the young ones with an ice cream or a cookie to finish dinner. This exchange might satiate them for a little while but in the longer run it is deceitfully harmful.

According to the American Heart Association, children between 2 and 18 years of age should not consume more than 6 teaspoons (25g) of added sugars. Children below two years of age should not have any added sugar. A 2” by 2” brownie (half the size of a debit card) contains at least 12.5g of sugar. Half a cup of ice cream or a serving the size of a tennis ball contains 26g of sugar.

Consuming these sugary treats can spell trouble in a couple of ways:

Post-dinner treats set a bad precedent.

It tells kids that vegetables are terrible and should be eaten only to get to the reward – a treat. This bargain goes on to promote other unhealthy eating habits such as wanting desserts as a reward for good behaviour or a pick-me-up when they feel sad. With age, this reward-and-treat can become entrenched and lead to emotional eating patterns. Emotional eaters experience hunger for only specific foods which may vary depending on their mood. The hunger, or craving, is tied to emotions rather than physical hunger.

To set a good example to your kids, be mindful of your attitude towards eating. Practice using positive words and body language while talking about vegetables and fruits. For instance, Katharine Jeffcoat, a registered dietician nutritionist, recommends using words like “growing food” to describe healthier food to children.

If your children see you being enthusiastic about healthy eating, they are more likely to adopt the same habits and develop self-regulation when it comes to eating sugary foods. You should particularly practice the no-emotional eating mindset on days when you are tired/sad and find yourself reaching for that tub of ice cream.

Replace the ice cream with healthy alternatives that not only cure the sweet tooth but are also nutrient-dense. Akiva’s Vanilla Ghee was created to fit the bill – it is nutritious, comforting and 100% yummy for the entire family! Just one tablespoon/serving contains 15% and 3% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin E. You can read more about the health benefits of our ghee over here.

Next time someone says, “kuch meetha milega?” pass on a cupcake made with Akiva’s Vanilla Ghee to them.

 

Desserts contain more than the daily recommended sugar content

Typically, desserts and sugary treats like brownies or milkshakes do not come in kid-friendly portions. This means your tiny human is consuming a disproportionate amount of sugar.

Excessive sugar consumption has been held responsible for a range of diseases, from hypertension and heart disease to type-2 diabetes. In children and young adults, excessive sugar consumption can cause sleep disruption, tooth decay, childhood obesity and puts them at the risk of developing heart disease and type-2 diabetes early on in life.

However, banning desserts adds to their lure. To counter the power desserts can have over kids and adults alike, introduce a kid-friendly portion of a sugary treat with a meal.

For instance, Akiva’s Jaggery Candies are made of natural jaggery and are intentionally proportioned to curb the sugar to < 3g per candy. This makes it an effective remedy for sweet tooth woes of both kids and adults.

However, that is not their only benefit; jaggery candies are also known for their iron content among a host of other health benefits. Just one candy can fulfil two percent of an adult’s iron requirement for the day. Your can choose from five delicious flavours – classic, coconut, cinnamon, chocolate and masala – for not just kids but anyone in the family. Pass a candy out during dinner time, substitute sugar with it for your morning cuppa, or use it as a natural sweetener for green smoothies.

To reduce monotony, you should include a variety of other naturally sweet foods. Munch on fruits like strawberries and grapes to combat post-dinner cravings. These fruits are low on the Glycemic Index and do not raise your blood sugar level as quickly as processed foods/foods with added sugars. If you are looking to replace refined sugar in your tea and coffee, you could also opt for immunity-boosting sweeteners like honey. Honey not only improves immunity, it is also an excellent tool for weight management.

 

At Akiva, we emphasise making healthy but sustainable changes to your and your loved ones’ diets. Demonising sugar is not useful given that the scientific community is still debating whether sugar is addictive or not. Instead, cut down on processed foods (that have added sugar) and consume naturally present sugar as a small component of a balanced diet.

A spoon here, a candy there can ward off sugar cravings without being detrimental to your health.