Food training certification often overlooks the benefits of proper nutrition, but nutrition impacts many aspects of the food service industry. A recent report from the American Heart Association recommends children between the ages of two and 18 only consume 25 grams of sugar per day. We visit many different local restaurants, and we see that many kid’s menus contain options that potentially exceed the AMA’s guidelines.
Food Training Certification and Sugar Consumption in Children
Eating too much sugar will not create a food-borne illness risk for children, but certain health conditions such as hyperactivity, heart disease and obesity have been linked to sweetened foods and drinks. Should this concern kitchen managers and restaurant supervisors? Some feel that parents make choices for their children, so some feel that restaurants are not responsible for how much sugar their meals contain. That can be true to a certain extent, but with parents searching for health conscious choices for their children’s lunches and dinners it is advantageous to at least provide some low-sugar alternatives.
Finding a substitute for high-sugar ingredients can be a challenge, but replacing a few canned or prepackaged items with fresh ingredients will go a long way. Preservatives in canned items increase sugar content, especially in canned fruit that is a common side served to children. Providing fresh fruit or vegetables as a side offers a healthy and low sugar option.
Sauces also contain added sugars. Just by reading the label of readily available canned pasta sauce, you can learn that many of these sauces contain nearly half of the AMA’s recommended amount of sugar in as little as one serving. If you are considering reducing the amount of sugar you serve to children, we suggest you take the time to assess all of your prepackaged ingredient items and consider whether or not it would be beneficial to make these ingredients from scratch or find a fresh food alternative.
Finally, soda and other sweetened beverages contain plenty of sugar. We understand children love their soda and you cannot remove soda completely from your menus, but offering milk and fresh juices as an alternative will please parents looking for low sugar choices.
We love to explore health issues beyond food-borne illnesses and food training certification. If there is something that you would like to us explore that isn’t covered in an online food safety course, feel free to suggest a topic in the comment section below.