It is OK to enjoy sweets once in a while without worrying about calories, but I am making changes.
First it was fat, then, salt. Now it is sugar, our number 1 public enemy.
Is sugar really that bad as many people say?
It is natural and yummy and make you feel happy, but we all know taking too much of it does cause you many problems.
I guess eating anything in excess, even the most healthiest foods is unhealthy.
I take feeding my family very seriously and have been educating my boys about food and nutrition since they were young. None of us has sweet tooth and eating a relatively balanced diet.
But my boys are approaching to the end of their teenage years and leaving for university soon. They have stopped growing upwards and need to be careful not to grow side ways. There will be temptations of fast food, take-aways and alcohols everywhere. I decided to take a look at our kitchen once more.
So, the first thing is our sugar(s).
It is recommended not to exceed the maximum intake of 30g or 6 teaspoons per day. It is all right to enjoy biscuits or chocolate once in a while, fully aware of having treats, but as a mother, what I want to be careful is these hidden sugars in our daily foods. There seems to be lots of sugars we are not really aware of.
For example, breakfast cereals.
Who decided that cereals are supposed to be sweet? How come the serving size written on box is so small? Who eat just 30g of cereal?
A healthy child can eat the double of the amount easily, and I think this labeling is very deceiving. If the cereal contains 8g sugar per 30g, which is quite an average, our children are having 16g sugar the first thing in the morning and that is more than 3 teaspoon of sugar already. It is the half of the daily allowance.
I would like to go back to our traditional Japanese breakfast with rice and miso soup if we could, but cereals are amazingly convenient and perfect for six-formers who seem to attend school whenever they are pleased. I decided to choose ones with less sugar. I started to buy cereals with less sugar content little by little. If I force them to eat plain corn flakes all of a sudden, boys will take off without having any of it.
Good shopping guidance is this: 22g per 100g. All food products come with nutrition table for 100g. If it contains more than 22g of sugar, you should consider it to be a high sugar product.
This made my shopping trip so much easier.
Did my boys like the change? Surprisingly yes! We became so used to low sugar cereals now and do not want to have sugar coated, choco-chipped cereals any more. Not only that, boys became less and less interest in biscuits after school.
We can make small changes and live much more healthier.
My older son had sweet potatoes every day for breakfast when he was in Kenya last summer. He said he loved it.
It is truly nice to taste natural sweetness in our vegetables. We can change our taste buds by cutting down everyday sugar intake.
I made this “imo-mochi” (sweet potato balls) for snack the other day. It is flavoured with soy sauce and mirin sweet wine. It is a little old fashioned, something like my mum used to make for snack when I was little.
I simply cooked sweet potatoes in microwave and mashed it up. Add corn starch or rice flour if you have, about 2 table spoons or so, and keep on mashing it up until it is fairy smooth.
Roll it into balls and cook in a frying pan.
One sweet potato yields about this much.
Mix about 1tbsp of each soy sauce and mirin sweet wine in a small cup and pour the mixture over the potato balls and cook until the moisture evaporates.
If you want it more savory, you can make the balls with potatoes. We sometimes have them for supper.
Low sugar life continues.