The effects that added sugars in food and drink can have on on children’s teeth has become more apparent in recent years, and as a result, there’s been a definite shift to us becoming a ‘sugar-free’ nation. Minimising the amount of sugar in our kids’ diets can be hugely beneficial: it doesn’t just help to protect the teeth, but assists with long term weight management, too, and helps to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. Unfortunately, the meaning of ‘sugar-free’ seems to have become lost, with potentially damaging consequences to our children’s health.
What does ‘sugar-free’ really mean?
The term ‘sugar-free’ is used to describe a diet that does not include added sugars. However, in recent years, the meaning has shifted somewhat to also include non-sugar sweeteners, such as aspartame. Foods and drinks labelled as ‘sugar-free’ often contain sweeteners that can damage the enamel on teeth, according to the NHS. That makes it even more difficult for us, as parents, to know what we should and shouldn’t be giving to our kids. For example, are smoothie recipes for kids OK, or are they full of harmful sugars? The only way to be sure is to make your own – which is why it’s a good idea to know how to whip up our own sugar-free treats in the kitchen.
Deliciousness… without the sugar
Believe it or not, smoothie recipes for kids can easily be made without added sugars — and without artificial sweeteners, too. There are many tasty ingredients that contain a natural sweetness, which is just enough to satisfy even the sweetest tooth while still helping to keep our little ones healthy.
Here are some mouthwatering smoothie recipes to try at home:
Blend together some pure coconut water with milk for a healthy, tasty, and creamy smoothie that the kids will love. If your kids like a bit of texture in their smoothies, sprinkle a little desiccated coconut on top. The coconut water has just enough natural sweetness that you shouldn’t need to add anything else.
- Mixed berry
If you’re concerned about natural sugars found in fruits, berries have some of the lowest sugar content of all – much lower than fruits like apples and mangoes. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries all work great in a smoothie. Pop in a blender and add almond milk until you’ve reached your little ones’ preferred consistency.
Blend almond milk with all the warming spices you’d typically find in gingerbread, such as ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. This can be a little bitter on its own, so you may find that adding half a banana balances out the sweetness. Failing that, just a tiny bit of vanilla extract can make it perfect.
Handy Hint: Whichever smoothie recipes for kids you decide to try, you can always make them thicker, creamier, and richer – almost like a milkshake – by adding some avocado. Just half an avocado, blended, will add a bit of substance to a smoothie, without adding too much ‘yucky’ vegetable flavour!