I can assure you, young children are not disadvantaged at birthday parties by being served, or choosing, healthier food alternatives. They have just as much fun, if not more so, than any of the other children. Their heads filled with imagination and games, stories and laughter, unrestricted by adult ideas and social constraints. Even the quieter ones join in when they feel safe with their friends.
The expectations and social norm for children's Birthday party's encourages feeding kids sugar-laden junk foods and then we somehow expect them to behave, despite current scientific evidence proving that high blood glucose levels cause behavioral problems. Not only are these party foods extremely high in sugar, but many also contain artificial additives which can be detrimental to our children's behaviour and their health.
Until we become aware of just how much sugar and carbohydrate sugars are served to young children at birthday parties, we have no idea how much they are consuming. This amount can be up to, and sometimes way more than 42 teaspoons of sugars in just one session! That is 37 teaspoons more than the World Health Organisation recommends for an entire day.
On average, a child will easily consume at least 11 teaspoons of sugar with just one plate of party food and this does not include the cake. Once they have eaten a piece of cake you can easily add on another 7 teaspoons of sugar, and even more if they have been offered seconds. Let’s not forget the glass of lemonade, which contains at least another 4 teaspoons of sugar, bringing the total up to 22 teaspoons in total.
Sadly, this is not where it ends, which brings me to the party bags to take home. A giant 13 teaspoons of sugar is in an average-sized party bag, which brings our total amount for one party to 35 teaspoons of sugar. This is huge, and does not include the piñata hanging in the tree outside or the chocolate bar laying between each wrapper of the pass the parcel which can easily add up to 42+ teaspoons at a single Birthday Party!
Until we become aware of just how much sugar and carbohydrate sugars are served to young children at birthday parties, we have no idea how much they are consuming. Seriously, 42 teaspoons is 37 teaspoons more than the World Health Organisation recommends for an entire day.
A birthday party is not about children standing around over eating themselves on sugary and processed food. It’s about them having fun and playing games with their friends. The simplest #SugarSwap is the take home party bags which can easily be filled have special treats such as stickers, pens, balloons and mini books.
As a society we are seeing a huge rise in obesity and modern disease. Most are related in some way to the high volumes of sugar-laden and processed foods we consume. Why are we teaching our children that it is okay to gorge themselves on junk food every time there is a social occasion or celebration? It is time to change and lead by example.
Let's start holding children's birthday parties with creative, healthier party foods and place more emphasis on fun and games instead of food. Let's teach our children that the healthier we stay, the more birthday parties we get to celebrate!
Imagine a birthday party with a table full of real food, which can still be made to be fun and inventive with a little imagination.
time to take back control of our children's health and give them a brighter future.
Small changes can make a huge difference!