Sunday, March 1, 2020

Sugar and Spring Cleaning!

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!!! (Shakespeare quote, can't remember which play..) Macbeth? Oh.. Julius Caesar ... hinting of an ultimate act of sabotage to occur in the play around mid March (the 15th to be exact).

Anyways. March is chock full of holidays, much more festive than an act of treason resulting in the fateful demise of Julius Caesar...

Some commonly known holidays in March:

St. Patrick's Day (17th)
1st Day of Spring, Spring Equinox (19th)
Earth Day (20th)

National Read Across America Day (2nd)
International Women's Day (8th)
Daylight Savings begins (8th)

Spring Break! (not a national holiday - and schools and universities have a broad range of schedules for their spring breaks, spanning from late February to mid-April... the peak period for Spring Break is definitely March)

One more fun fact!

March is also National Celery Month!

Why do I know that?? Well the internet...

Working to get to the point here... What IS the point?! Good point. Inside of March is the first official day of Spring. And spring denotes the notion of spring cleaning. And when it comes to sugar... Here are some interesting facts about sugar and the new year 2020:

Sugar trends for the new year/decade don't look good for sugar: since the start of the new year the FDA has required all large food manufacturers to include a discrepancy in their labelling of "Added Sugars" - vs natural sugars. Before this year food ingredient labels were not required to decipher between naturally occurring sugar in food and added sugars. Now consumers will be able to see just how much processed sugar is being added to their packaged and prepared food.

Increased awareness of health issues arising from excess of processed sugar in our diets is cause for concern for people as we strive to live longer, healthier lives. With clear transparency about how much processed sugar is in our food we have more ability to make healthy choices - even with so-called "gray area" foods such as salad dressings, sauces, cereals, and certain snack foods labelled as "healthy," low-fat," and "light."

The transparency created by mandated reporting of added processed sugar to foods coupled with greater knowledge about the negative effects on overall health of a diet high in processed sugar is predicted to cause the processed food industry to make healthy changes in its ingredients - eventually a cleaning out of unnecessary sugars - a spring cleaning, if you will. How will this affect families and kids? You will still have the ability, if not the desire, to splurge on occasion with sugary treats. But with knowledge being power you will have the ability to make healthier choices - on a daily basis, with the increased awareness into just how much sugar you may be consuming daily - and with that ability to go for the treats that treat you right.

I personally challenge you to celebrate the Month of Celery with you family. Celery, an important ingredient in many sauces, stews, and hearty soups - is also a crunchy snack that many kids love and appreciate with low fat ranch dip, humus, or peanut butter. You probably already know that classic recipe: Ants on a Log: celery, peanut butter, "ants" (raisons), but do you also know its wintery version: Ants on a Snowy Log: using cream cheese in the place of peanut butter. Also try with "golden ants." Crunchy, creamy, chewy, and naturally sweet (if you use sugar free peanut butter)!

One last note: March is also National Nutrition Month. Practice good nutrition now and all year for yourself and your family. There are more and more ways of doing so as the year opens up into spring and the coming summer... Food trends are on the rise fo this year with healthy choice-making and hopefully will continue for the new decade and beyond. Families that eat together stay together. And families that eat healthy have longer to stay and play together.

Written by Christopher Libby

Founder/CEO Healthy Organic Kids

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