Sweets to Feel Good About
by Missy Chase Lapine
Kids love roller coasters. Moms don’t – well, at least not the ones that take place inside their living rooms! I’m talking about the “spike and crash” that happens when kids eat too many sweets, especially on an empty stomach.
Foods that are especially high in sugar — even natural sugar or honey — are also rated high on the “glycemic index” (GI) — a measurement of the effect a food has on one’s blood sugar level. The higher the rating on the index, the quicker the increase in blood sugar level. A handful of jellybeans and kids act as if they’ve had four cups of coffee, bouncing off the walls and then, in a predictable amount of time, growing cranky and lethargic. Almost all packaged snacks and cereals marketed to kids today have this effect on them. It’s commonly referred to as the “spike and crash syndrome.”
As parents, we need to get kids to eat low GI, slow-burning foods more often. That’s just what the recipes below do; yet none of these sneaky additions are obvious. When your children eat a Sneaky Chef Corn Muffin (below), all they know is that it’s delicious. They’ll stay full longer than if they’d eaten a donut or candy bar, have more sustained energy, feel happier overall, and won’t crave as much junk food. Your kids won’t realize that the muffins they ate had enough fiber from the hidden vegetables, wheat germ and stone ground flour to stabilize their blood-sugar levels. They have no idea why the cookie you baked for them was so gratifying to eat. After all, it tasted just like any other chocolate chip cookie, so they couldn’t possibly guess that it was packed with pureed white beans, whole grains, and half the sugar. The only one who knows these little secrets is you (and their healthier bodies).
As “The Sneaky Chef,” I’m known for coming up with easy, healthy solutions that parents can use right now, without radically changing their lives. I live in the real world where kids eat junk food, sugar, and pizza, but I’ve found ways to boost all their foods with extra nutrition and help offset the bad stuff with the good.
Here are 6 simple ways you can fight sugar highs and give your child lasting energy: