If you are a regular reader of Jump IN for Healthy Kids’ blog, you’re familiar with the 5-2-1-0 concept: 5 fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, and 0 sugar-sweetened beverages every day. Today we’ll share some information about achieving that 0, every day.
This blog author’s husband works in a restaurant where it’s not uncommon for families to send glasses of water back to the kitchen, saying something along the lines of, “We won’t drink that. Bring us a Coke.”
And even though it happens somewhat frequently, my husband is always surprised and and a little sad, as those kids are learning to replace water with pop. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda/pop, fruit punch, Gatorade, or energy drinks are the leading source of added sugar in the typical American diet (CDC). These parents are probably just trying to give their kids something they know they’ll like and may not know that sugar is harmful to your body, and may not have any idea how much sugar they’re consuming.
Just how much sugar is in soft drinks? A typical 12 oz. can of coke (or similar soda/pop) contains 39 grams of sugar; that’s almost 10 teaspoons. If you’re drinking a soft drink in a restaurant or filling up a cup of fountain soda, you may be getting more than 12 oz. Energy drinks and sports drinks can also be high in sugar, and are not recommended for children. Replacing high-sugar drinks with “sugar-free” or “diet” versions may not be a better choice, as studies show that they may actually contribute to weight gain.
The CDC has some good recommendations for ways to cut down on sugary drinks:
- Choose water or low-calorie beverages instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.
- For a quick, easy, and inexpensive thirst-quencher, carry a water bottle and refill it throughout the day.
- Don’t “stock the fridge” with sugar-sweetened beverages. Instead, keep a jug or bottles of cold water in the fridge.
- Serve water with meals.
- Make water more exciting by adding slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, or watermelon, or drink sparkling water.
- Add a splash of 100% juice to plain sparkling water for a refreshing, low-calorie drink.
- When you do opt for a sugar-sweetened beverage, go for the small size. Some companies are now selling 8-oz. cans and bottles of soda, which contain about 100 calories.
- Be a role model for your friends and family by choosing healthy, low-calorie beverages.
Click here to find a downloadable 5-2-1-0 tracker so you and your family can keep track of your four daily healthy habits.
Jump IN for Healthy Kids promotes 5-2-1-0 wherever we can. Last weekend, as part of the Indianapolis Greenways Partnership, a 5-2-1-0 family fitness walk on the Pleasant Run Greenway. Dietitian Marci Cooper let the group through some fun 5-2-1-0 games and a dance party right there in the park. For more information about 5-2-1-0 and to access tools for you to use at home or at school/child care, visit our Resource Hub -there are hundreds of tools to help you make healthy choices and create an environment that encourages healthy choices. We have a section of our website dedicated to worksite wellness with thorough guides that can help you get started (or improve) on a worksite wellness plan.
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The Abecedarian Project: high quality early childhood education and its impact on lifelong health