Slurpees can be refreshing on a hot day – no doubt, but really people? I am actually embarrassed by the fact that we as Manitobans not only hold this title, but brag about it. Check out one of the news releases in a local paper. Perhaps “free slurpee” day is not all its hyped up to be!
Once Again Manitoba is Crowned the Slurpee Capital
At our house slurpees are a once in a while treat. In fact, it is not uncommon for my kids to say on a hot mid summer day ~ you haven’t bought us a slurpee yet this year, can we go for a treat. We probably purchase our children one to three over the course of a year, but don’t have as much control over those that are gifted to them. As an alternative, we often make our own homemade “free” versions. When I say free, I am not just talking about not paying for the $2 treat, but rather all the other freebies a homemade recipe offers….our “slurpees” (more like smoothies) are free of dyes, sugar, additives, preservatives, empty calories, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavours. See the end of the blog if you are interested in our healthy recipe. There is absolutely no nutritional value in a slurpee as far as I am concerned and what amazes me is how many small children I see drinking them. So you see, its not just about being cheap, what makes its so costly is the impact that cumulative consumption coupled with other poor dietary choices can have on our bodies and especially on those of our children. Although it is often easier to follow the crowd and give in, try to make decisions based on the best interest of your own children.
Could a slurpee actually be harmful?
Probably the occasional slurpee would not be harmful. At least not on its own, but if a person’s diet consists of foods that are high in additives and artificial dyes and flavourings, the results could have a very negative impact. As a teacher, I have seen an increasing number of students enter kindergarten with attentional issues. Although diet is not always the culprit, it is a great place to start. It is amazing to me to see how many young children consume junk food on a daily basis. For many, I believe it is like a poison to their system and truly impacts their ability to learn and focus. Did you know that food dyes, sugar and artificial additives have been directly linked to ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in case studies. To learn more about some of the research on this click here. Every parent wants their child to be happy, but giving into their desires for candy and fast food might not be the best path to get there.
FOOD DYES: If you thought Starbucks was gross for using crushed bugs in their strawberry Frappucinos, you’ll be horrified to know that certain Slurpee flavors are chock full of toxic artificial coloring. 7-Eleven uses several different food dyes, but one of hte most common is Red 40 (even the ones that aren’t red), which has been tied to reactions ranging form migraines and headaches to temper tantrums, hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, uncontrollable crying and screaming, kicking, nervousness, dizziness, and inability to sit still or concentrate in kids.
Read more: http://www.blisstree.com/2012/07/11/food/nutrition/anatomy-of-slurpee-bad-for-you-590/#ixzz2YZIGntGz“rel=nofollow”
My Personal Philosophy on Children and Diet
We are quite a health conscious family. In fact, I am sure my eldest was 4 before she realized that a cracker was not a cookie. She was never given fruit juice or sweets as a baby, toddler and rarely as a pre-schooler. I remember her June field trip at the end of Nursery School when she complained that her teacher gave them each a popsicle, but she had to throw it out because it tasted awful. (This, of course, was the first time she had ever tasted a store bought popsicle loaded with sugar.) We consistently made healthy choices for her as long as we were able to do that. A young child only knows what they are exposed to. My thinking was “juice vs. milk or water”. Dah! I think most children would choose the sweet option. By not making juice one of the options, the choices were limited to milk or water. Water is essential and I wanted to ensure my kids liked to drink water. “Cookie vs. vegetables” Again, no brainer. I figured by exposing our children to as many healthy options as possible, we would develop their palate for healthy food at a very young age. A great example of this is cottage cheese. So many people will not touch cottage cheese, but both of our kids love it. It was introduced to them as infants and has been a regular part of their diet ever since. I am not naive enough to think that we would always have this control, but it gave our children the best start possible. Of course, it is not as easy to do this with the second child, but we gave it our best shot. This is not to say that at 9 and 11, they both don’t enjoy treats and would probably even ask for a treat everyday if they thought for a moment that they would get one. Generally, they know that they can expect a store bought treat from us once or twice a week.
Sugar Be Gone!!
I posted a blog last January outlining our experience with going to a no sugar diet (keeping in mind that we rarely have a sugary treat in the house). Our quest to reduce sugar consumption stemmed more from the observations we made concerning our own family, along with some research that I had done. Our intervention was targeting the hidden sugars laden in the grains we consume on a daily basis and I am not just talking about sugar coated breakfast cereals. We noticed our children’s becoming much less fruit and vegetable based and their choices would often be grain based foods such as cereal and bread. What we noticed was that they would crave grains and would no longer get satisfaction from the healthier choices such as veggies. We sound wicked mood swings and they were becoming picky eaters. It was then that I realized how much sugar was in grain based food and the addictive properties that it might have. Did you know that two slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar to a higher level than a candy bar does?
Since our 3 month commitment to “no sugar” consumption in our home, we have continued to eat healthy, but no longer follow the Paleo/Primal lifestyle plan. I still believe that one has to be really careful with grain and sugar consumption, but the program was not the “perfect fit” that I was hoping for. As a rule, I feel that the best choices we can make are pure whole foods that have had as little processing as possible ~ fruits, vegetables and meat.
I use Martha Stewart’s recipe for popsicles and adapt it to meet our needs. Basically, we OMIT THE SUGAR completely, substitute the blueberries with frozen mixed berries and reduce the yogurt to about 3/4 cup. We add a bit of extra lemon juice, unsweetened pineapple juice or even milk if additional liquid is needed. It makes a great refreshing smoothy and we freeze the leftovers for popsicles!
To sum it all up, the choice is ultimately up to you, but I for one will not be helping Manitoba earn the World’s Slurpee Capital of the Year Award for the 15th year in a row!!