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THE EXTENSION CORNER: Too much sugar

Cortney Huneycutt

The school year is quickly approaching. Along with the notebooks, pencils and other school supplies, please do not forget one of the most important tools to ensure your child has a successful school year: food.
You are probably wondering, “how could I possibly forget to feed my child?”
It’s not so much about if you are feeding your child, but more about what you are feeding your child.
Take a second to look in your cabinets and pantry when you get home.
Is it full of Pop Tarts, cookies and other sugary snacks? These are not the most nutritious options and therefore are not the best snacks for your child.
So, how does food relate to the success our child has in school?
Every system in our body is related, including our brain and our stomach. If you are pumping your child full of foods that are high in sugars, this can have negative impacts on their learning ability.
As Americans our daily sugar intake is outrageous. According to the American Heart Association, kids between the ages of 2 to 18 should have less than 25 grams or six teaspoons of added sugar daily.
In just one strawberry frosted Pop Tart, there are 15 grams of sugar, which is about three teaspoons. Most people eat both Pop Tarts in a pack, which is six teaspoons of added sugar.
If our kids eat this for breakfast, they have already hit their recommended daily amount for added sugars.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have found that excessive sugar in the diet can impact attention span, memory and cognitive function.
This year, set your child up for success by providing healthier foods. Replace the strawberry frosted Pop Tarts with real strawberries. You and your child can even make simple, healthy snacks together.
Below is a recipe for a nutritional fruit cup that your kids will reach for daily.
Don’t forget one of the most important items on your school supply checklist this year, healthy and nutritional foods.

Fruit Cup Recipe

1 cup of low-fat yogurt or Greek yogurt
1 medium banana
1 cup of grapes, peaches, strawberries and pineapples cut into chunks
Optional: Granola or grape nuts
Directions:
In a medium sized bowl mix together yogurt with fruit. This can be covered and placed into the refrigerator and portioned out as wanted or can be put into small easy to grab containers for the convenience.
Add granola or grape nuts for an optional crunch to th

Cortney Huneycutt

Cortney Huneycutt

e fruit cup.

Cortney Huneycutt is the nutrition program assistant with the Stanly County office of N.C. Cooperative Extension.