GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — New U.S. dietary guidelines were recently released suggesting kids under the age of two should have no added sugar in their diets. But how realistic is that? We sat down with a registered dietician to find out.
“The earlier you start these habits the better. I think it shapes your palate and what you're going to do later in life,” said Liz Vander Laan, Registered Dietitian with Allina Health.
Yes, we all know sugar does not do a body good, but the new dietary guidelines suggest we really need to stick to that with our tiny tots. No added sugar under the age of 2. Like never, ever?
“What I think will happen from this, is people will hear it, and maybe reduce what they already do with their kids," Vander Laan said.
So smash cake on your birthday? Of course, you can, but keep those treats for special occasions. And perhaps you consider yourself a nutrition whiz, but truth is, you could learn a little something when you read labels, which all now include added sugar.
“I would say before you look at the numbers of anything, just look at the ingredients. Is the first ingredient high fructose corn syrup, or sugar, or something that implies sugar, and the fruit is at the very end? Then that's not necessarily the best choice,” she said.
The guidelines say kids should only have breast milk or iron fortified formula for the first six months, and then, offer them a wide variety.
“Ideally strive for half your plate being fruits and vegetables. Try to get some sort of protein at your meals,” Vander Laan said.
Picky eater? You could try sneaking in those healthy foods, but really it comes down to offering them again and again. The whole point is to train their eyes and pallets for the good stuff.
“You should kind of get used to seeing those veggies at your meal,” she said. “You just have to do it repeatedly. Over and over again."
And contrary to what we've been told in the past, the new guidelines suggest introducing foods that contain peanuts in the first year to reduce the risk of developing an allergy.