Avoiding sugar in Kids diet – How to sweeten milk, porridge and juice – Dates syrup, jaggery and honey for kids
Avoiding sugar in Kids diet – Sugar substitute in Kids’ food - How much sugar for Kids?
I want to avoid sugar in my child’s diet often. He eats porridges, juices, soups, cakes, ice creams, chocolates, snacks and drinks milk with sugar added to it. I did not appreciate my child taking sugar more than twice a day. So I substituted sugar with few other things that is more nutritious than sugar. As I do not want to forbid him eating chocolates, ice creams and other ready-made foods, I tried to avoid sugar in home made foods I give to child. You would be wondering how much sugar you can allow your baby to eat. I would recommend a minimum amount as obesity and diabetes is common among kids today. I do avoid sugar for my baby. In Indian kids recipes, jaggery, palm jaggery and palm sugar are often substituted for sugar. Jaggery, palm jaggery and palm sugar have several health benefits that cannot be given by sugar. I will explain how I substitute jagerry, plam jaggery, date syrup, and honey for sugar in kids recipes
Why jaggery (sarkara in Malayalam, vellam in tamil) is a better substitute for sugar in Children’s diet
Jaggery is rich with minerals and vitamins and contains sugar elements glucose and sucrose that would help cure indigestion, stomach upset and constipation. Jaggery is a store of iron that it helps in the growth of children. Jaggery is a wonderful source of calcium, phosphorus and zinc.
Kids Recipes in which you can use jaggery instead of sugar - Sugar-free diet for kids
Jaggery will not go well with milk. You can therefore use sugar for porridges and soups that use milk. For recipes that do not use milk, jaggery can be used. Cereal porridges and banana powder porridge can be prepared in water, adding jaggery for taste. I used to give my child banana powder porridge (without milk) with jaggery added to it. Banana powder is prepared from nendran banana. Banana powder can also be prepared by adding milk. But if you add milk it is better to avoid jaggery. If you include milk better use sugar. I will explain both recipes (with sugar and without sugar)
Boil 100 ml water in a saucepan. Take 50 ml of water in a bowl and mix 2 or 3 spoonful of powder (banana powder, ragi powder, mixed grain porridge, wheat or whatever). Mix well. This mixture needs to be added to the boiling water. Now stir well and cook for 3 minutes. Adding cereal powder directly to boiling water would result in the formation of lumps. After the cereal is cooked you can milk if you want. After adding milk porridge can be removed from fire and sugar can be added. If you do not add milk you can add jaggery. Jaggery should be scraped and put to the boiling porridge. After putting jaggery, stir well and cook for 3 minutes. For cakes and snacks also you can use jaggery instead of sugar. Adding jaggery would help you reap more nutrients.
Date syrup and palm sugar goes well with milk – milk sweeteners for children
What If I want to avoid sugar in milk porridges also? You have two other good options. Date syrup and palm sugar. Date syrup and palm sugar also have numerous health benefits. But palm jaggery will not go with milk. Palm jaggery is good only for decoctions and porridges where milk is absent.
Dates for sweetening milk
Dates can be added to milk for sweetening. Squeeze dates and put it in milk for 2 hours. This would flavour milk in such a way that children would like it. This would also ensure that children get the health benefits of milk and dates. Dates extract can also be added to sweeten porridges and soups.
Can honey be used instead of sugar in cereal porridges?
Even though honey is a good sweetening agent with health and medicinal benefits, it is not advisable to give honey to infants daily. Honey is little constipating. Honey would harden stools, making child constipated. Honey can be added to porridges and milk once in a while. Honey goes well with milk.
Use palm jaggery (panam sarkara in Malayalam and tamil) for decoctions
Palm jaggery is best to use in decoctions, tea decoctions, coffee decoction and other spice decoctions. Palm jaggery or Karippetti is good for infants and children. Palm jaggery has several other health benefits. In coffee decoction (black coffee), palm jaggery can be added. While giving coffee decoction to children, quarter spoon of ghee can be added to the decoction.
Avoid sugar in fruit juices for children
Fruit juices do have sweetness. Avoid putting sugar in juices. Children can be taught drinking juice without sugar. Dates extract (made by squeezing soaked dates) can be added to fruit juices. Dates extract can sweeten fruit juices. In order to sweeten fruit juices I do sometimes add extract of dry grapes (raisins) to juices. Dry grapes (red grapes is the best). Should be soaked in water and squeezed to get the juice. This juice is so sweet. A spoonful of this extract can be added to other fruit juices that need to be sweetened. This would help you avoid sugar.