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Almost all pre-packaged foods have added sugar.
If you’re looking to change your diet or your family’s diet, you’re probably starting to pay more attention to the labels on the foods that you buy. You’ll likely notice that serving sizes are pretty ridiculous in many cases - you’ll usually eat 2 to 3 of the serving size that they have listed. But even beyond that, you’re likely going to find that almost everything that is pre-packaged has a bunch of added sugars.
Why does everything have added sugar in it? Simple - it’s more addicting that way. If you have a bowl of oatmeal without anything added to it vs a bowl of oatmeal with sugar in it, your body is going to continue to want more of the oatmeal with sugar in it. It’s going to ignore the cue that your body isn’t actually hungry because it simply wants more of that sweet taste that it got from the sugar.
You may be thinking that there have to be some foods that don’t have added sugar, and that’s true, but you’re going to have to search for those items. Most yogurt, applesauce, and juices all have sugar added. Condiments, such as dressing, ketchup and barbecue sauce, have plenty of added sugar in them (it’s no wonder your child loves ketchup but won’t touch a tomato). Pre-packaged frozen meals and foods as well.
When looking at the label for food, you’re looking at the list of ingredients for things such as sugar, fructose corn syrup, and high fructose corn syrup (see a full list of names here). You’ll find that many of the foods, including the bread you buy, often has at least one of these ingredients added to it. Even if the front of the box says something like “healthy choice,” it doesn’t mean anything - it’s a marketing ploy.
In order to eat healthy, you’re going to have to spend more time finding healthy choices, and avoiding pre-made foods as much as possible. Start by buying whole fruits and vegetables. Don’t buy juices thinking that your child is getting the same nutrients - they’re getting a lot more sugar than they are vitamins from the actual fruit. Make salads and other vegetable based mixes that your child can enjoy.
Rather than buying pre-made meats in the frozen food section, buy fresh meat and cook it yourself. There’s really no reason that you can’t put a piece of chicken on the grill or in the oven to bake it for a few minutes. We have several basic chicken recipes that don’t take a lot of work. Other meats can also be prepared simply as well, and they’ll have no added sugars or other random ingredients to them.
When buying packaged food, look for items that have no added sugar - plain yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, and plain oatmeal. You can add your own sweetness to these items as needed with other fruits. There’s no reason that you need to buy these items loaded with extra sugar directly from the store. You’ll find that you have more options and the quality is simply better if you do it yourself.
Yes, many of the food items at the grocery store have added sugar in some form. Work on removing these items from your life so that you can start tasting your food, and your kids aren’t addicted to sugar. There are a lots of tasty foods out there that don’t need extra sugar in them.