This Diwali, Give Your Kids Mithai Loaded With Good Sugar
This Diwali, know how to create the perfect festival recipes for your kids without feeding them a lot of sugar.
Fairy lights, fancy clothes and lots of cheer — Diwali is all about celebration.
While Diwali is about endless nights of poker and gorging on your favourite delicacies, it is also the time when our sweet-tooth is in overdrive.
And though nothing should stop us from indulging, knowing the sugar devil in a little more detail can help you create the balance between celebration and fun.
A Little Sugar For the Kids?
Growing up, one of my favorite breakfast was gud ka parantha (jaggery flatbread). It was considered perfectly alright to feed a growing child that. After getting married and having a child, I realised that it is not just a north Indian phenomenon.
If my mom suggested sooji ki kheer, my mother-in-law’s choice was sweet ragi kanji (finger millet porridge). My mother would ask me to feed my son cheeni (sugar) ka parantha if he was acting cranky and my mother-in-law would say give him idly, ghee and sugar.
The foods were different but the bottom line was the same: Sugar is the answer to all problems when it comes to feeding kids.
All my objections on how too much sugar is not good would be met with an outright dismissal – they burn it off by playing anyways.
Don’t be so overprotective I was told, a little sugar is needed for the kids.
Honestly, the truth couldn’t be far from it. To understand this, let us look at what sugar actually is.
What is Sugar?
The stuff we know as white sugar is scientifically sucrose, which is actually two types of sugar attached together – fructose and glucose.
Now without getting into a chemistry lecture here, when we eat sugar, the bloodstream gets instant glucose or energy. It makes us feel happy and energetic for a while.
But sugar is known to do more harm than good.
Also read: Sorry to Ruin Your Day: Sugar is Toxic!
So, What’s Wrong With Sugar?
Too much of sugar can lead to what is commonly known as “sugar high”.
It is a phase of hyperactivity and according to doctors, kids are extremely prone to it. The high can often be followed by a low or post-cake meltdown phase.
Scientifically, sugar high happens because the intake of sugar leads to overproduction of insulin which results in sweeping out of all sugar from blood resulting in a feeling of “low”.
Sugar is often considered the biggest culprit in the behavioural ups and downs in kids. It is also linked to cold-like allergies for kids as well as severe acid refluxes.
And according to a recent research, sugar actually weakens the immunity and inhibits the absorption of nutrients by the body.
How Do You Balance Your Kid’s Sugar Intake?
Before I give you a recipe you can make at home, some quick tips on how we can balance sugar intake at home. (Read on to find my apple kheer recipe!)
Cut out all white sugar apart from the sucrose. Jaggery, raw cane sugar and honey are what can be replaced in most things that need sugar.
Read ingredients label, and once you start doing that you will realise how sugar is sneaking into so many of the foods on the shelf. As a rule, we don't buy anything where sugar is among the first four ingredients since that means sugar is pretty high in there.
Go easy on juices, especially the tetra pack ones. Even when they are ‘100% no added sugar’, the fruit sugar concentration is enough to exhaust your recommended sugar quota for the day.
Find smart substitutes! Fruits like apples, bananas and dates work really well in drinks baked products, and even in Indian desserts. If you must use sugar, use jaggery or honey. Though be aware that at the end they are also "sugar".
Make it a lifestyle habit. There is something very real and reassuring about inculcating right habits in childhood. This is the time when you can make them aware that eating too much sugar is not really fun for your body.
Now that we are set to cut out sugar from our lives, I know what your next thought is going to be.
It is the festival season. How can one avoid sugar when delicious sweets are all around us?
But I think this is the right time to make a difference and to make your life easy, here is a super delicious no-added-sugar kheer recipe for you.
Dates, Apple and Coconut Kheer
The dates, apple and coconut kheer gets its sweetness from apples and dates. Both are excellent replacements for any form of processed sugar.
And this one is so delicious that you won't miss the regular kheer one bit.
De-seed and finely chop the dates. In a heavy bottom pan, bring milk to a boil. Add dates and simmer till dates are cooked and milk thickened. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a different pan, heat ghee and add grated apples, raisins and coconut along with date syrup. Cook for 3-5 minutes till the apples are cooked and caramelised. Once the dates and milk are ready, add the apple mixture to it and turn off the heat. Serve warm or chilled.
This is just right for Diwali!
You can enjoy this whether you are fasting or feasting.
That's it, we are now festival-ready and without compromising on sugar. Happy festivities everyone, enjoy and be merry!
(Monika Manchanda is an ex-IT professional turned into a food blogger, consultant, home baker and an amateur food photographer. She loves music, writing, food, and travel, but not necessarily in that order! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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