Healthy Children - October 2016

The Power of Sugar


A chocolate chip cookie. An ice cream cone. A bag of skittles. A doughnut or slice of cake. All of these treats bring such delight to a child. It’s almost magical how quickly a troubled child becomes happy once anything loaded with sugar is given to them. You will quickly become one of the world’s greatest parents, aunties or teachers if this is your method of keeping a child happy. Have you ever asked yourself why children get so excited about such treats? Why is it that children from around the globe have the very same reaction? What is it about sugar?

Research shows that when sugar is eaten, it sends out a trigger to our brain that brings us instant pleasure. This trigger of pleasure becomes addictive to us and causes the brain to seek it over and over again. It is difficult for a child to practice self-control when presented with such an influence. It is the responsibility of the care giver to monitor and control the child’s sugar intake.

Too much sugar in the diet can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Too much sugar in the diet can also increase the risk of cavities. Both of these risks can become a financial burden for the care giver and compromises the overall health of the child.

There are other types of foods that have a more positive effect on the brain. These foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, without the added sugar. You can even be creative when presenting these foods to the child. Since fruit is naturally sweet, the recipe below should help curb the child’s desire for sugar and also put a smile on their face. 

Apple Salad

Makes 6 (1/2 cup) servings


  • 1 cup diced apple
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt


  1. Wash apples, celery, and carrots before dicing and grating
  2. Toss apples with lemon juice
  3. Add celery, carrot and raisins.
  4. Fold yogurt into apple mixture
  5. Cover. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving
  6. Refrigerate leftovers.