I talk a lot about added sugar when I am working with families. This is mostly because kids are getting way too many added sugars in their diet. That is one reason I love these energy bites! Don’t get me wrong, I never actually recommend families count sugar grams. But I do like them to be familiar with how to identify added sugars in food products.
What are added sugars?
If you want to learn more about added sugars, I have a free downloadable “Quick Guide to Added Sugars.” In this guide, you will learn all about how to identify added sugars in food products, which sugars are added vs. natural sugars and how you can reduce added sugars in your kiddos diet.
I also have a full blog post on added sugars, you can read that here.
Why should I limit added sugar?
As the mama to a 16-month old, I try and be super conscious that the foods she is getting do not contain added salt or sugar. This is important as her body develops its ability to process foods. I also know there are plenty of ways she gets sweets without sugar being added to her foods.
Kids under 2 should not consume added sugars. According to the dietary guidelines for Americans, kids 2 years + should have less than 6 teaspoons of added sugars each day.
Keep in mind that added sugar is sugar added in the cooking or processing of the food (white sugar, brown sugar, syrups, even honey etc.) Natural sugars are ones that naturally occur in food such as fructose in whole and dried fruit and lactose in milk/dairy products.
There are also a lot of ways you can use natural sugars to sweeten food in place of added white sugar. One of the best ways is replacing white sugar with date paste. If you have never made date paste, it is super easy! I included the directions for making it below in the recipe notes.
No sugar added snacks for kids
One of my favorite no added sugar snacks are these almond butter energy bites. They contain just four ingredients and a mixture of healthy fats and fiber which help keep kids (and parents) full longer. These are great for a quick breakfast or snack for the kiddos before or after school.
Since these do not contain whole nuts they are also great for younger kids and toddlers who can handle chewing pretty well. They do contain nut butter though, so be careful with kids under 2-3 who are still developing their chewing skills with sticky textured foods. Including foods that contain nuts, seeds and fiber-rich oats may also help prevent constipation in kids.