Monell Study Explains Why Kids Crave Candy. Plus, My Healthier-Sweets List.

It's not just you. Kids crave candy more than adults. On a recent trip to Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC, I was shocked to see hundreds of kids, teens and tweeners running circles around their parents filling their plastic shopping baskets with mountains of sugary goods. I get it. I remember being a sugar-monster as a kid. A trip to the movies meant I had to get a box of Sweet-Tarts. I didn't care for popcorn, pretzels or starchy items. I wanted sugar! Looking back, I am disgusted by all the sugar junk I ate. Why do kids crave it? Well now, a new study released by the Monell Chemical Senses Center on March 18th, 2009 claims to have an answer to why kids crave candy, sugar and all things sweet.

Click ahead for the study findings and my list of healthier sugar-sweet snack items....

Why Kids Crave Sugar. Study Findings:
A new study by the Monell Chemical Senses Center describes their findings: "Now, new research from the University of Washington and the Monell Center indicates that this heightened liking for sweetness has a biological basis and is related to children's high growth rate."

Makes Sense. It makes perfect sense. During intense growth periods, kids energy demands increase and the fastest way to get energy is from straight up sugar. So what does this mean for kids health? We know the obesity crisis effects kids, so we can't simply allow them to eat all the marshmallow fluff their bodies' desire. Parents shouldn't take this study to mean that it is OK to give into kids candy cravings. The Solution? In sugar-craving times, give them healthier-choice sugar-dense food items. Say no to gummy bears and yes to fruit leather.

If this study is right, it means that no matter how healthy your kids are or how informed they are about making healthy eating choices, they will at some time crave sugar. Need sugar.

Thus, a parent should be prepared....

Kid Natural Sugar Foods List*
*note many of these are treat foods, not meant as food staples!
Healthier ideas...
Dried Fruit
(blueberries and strawberries are high in antioxidants)
Homemade date-nut-agave bars
Fresh Juices (At-home juicer)
Ginger Lemonade, Pear-juice sweetened
Frosted Lemonade
Maple Syrup-sweetened foods
Agave-syrup sweetened foods
Sweet 'n Pepper Toasted Nuts (Take out the pepper for kids)
Fresh Fruit-sweet
Smoothies n Sorbet
Banana-Strawberry Smoothie
Soy-Fruit Smoothie
All-fruit Sorbet
More ideas
Fruit Crusty Sandwiches
Fuyu Cream
Mango Cream
Sweet-Yogurt-Fruit Cups (fresh fruit, soy yogurt, honey or agave, granola, nuts)
PBB Cookies Add more bananas, less chocolate.
Fruit leather/all-fruit fruit snacks
Lemon Island Custard Parfait, vegan

Full Study Findings online:
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