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Be on the lookout for added sugar

Mar 21, 2018

Springtime is here! No matter how old you are, one of the best things you can do to protect and improve your health is to have good nutrition. March is National Nutrition Month®, a great time to find a healthy eating style that works for you.

Currently only about one in four adults in our region eat the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. If parents aren’t eating nutritious foods, it’s not likely their children are either. Starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or eating a nutritious meal before playing sports can make a big difference in how children feel, learn and perform. We encourage families to have a healthy diet that consists of:

  • A variety of fruits, vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Skinless poultry and fish

Parents should also be careful about how much added sugar is in food and drinks, especially those with high-fructose corn syrup, which can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and Type 2 diabetes. Children should have no more than 8 teaspoons of sugar a day. One serving of a sugary cereal has 2¼ teaspoons of sugar, while a 12 ounce can of soda averages 8¼ teaspoons. Some healthy snack and drink ideas for kids are:

  • Drinks: water, milk or 100% fruit juice 
  • Fresh fruit and fruit smoothies
  • Peanut butter and raisins on celery sticks or rice cakes
  • Cheese cubes and pretzel sticks
  • Yogurt parfait with fresh fruit and granola
  • Veggies such as celery, carrots and broccoli with hummus or low-fat dip

You can choose from many healthy options. Don’t be afraid to try a new snack idea with your children, or even let them create one of their own.

Dr. O’dell Moreno Owens is the president and chief executive officer of Interact for Health and InterAct for Change. Dr. Owens is a reproductive endocrinologist. He earned an MD, an OB/GYN residency and a master’s of public health degree from Yale University School of Medicine. He also obtained a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School. In recent years, Dr. Owens has served as the Hamilton County Coroner, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College President, and Interim Health Commissioner and Medical Director of the Cincinnati Health Department.

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