Feb 8, 2019

How much sugar does Nutella and other chocolate spreads contain?

Source: BigBasket

The chocolate and nut based spreads have become a staple in many urban households, ever since Nutella set its footsteps firmly in the Indian market. As though Nutella isn't enough, there are quite a few similar chocolate spreads that have been occupying the supermarket shelves the past few years.

A few weeks back, I heard a mom saying casually, "My daughter CANNOT eat idli, dosa or chapathi without ketchup, jam or choco spread". Her 5-year old daughter is a sweet child but OBESE at such a young age. How did our kids reach that "CANNOT EAT FOOD WITHOUT CHOCOSPREAD" state? It is us, parents who introduced them to such junk in the first place. If the child protests that she won't eat regular food, why do we succumb so easily? What worse could happen? They might throw a tantrum or skip a meal. So what? After a few days, they would forget and move on. Instead, what do we do? We indulge them, we fulfill their every single demand for such sugar loaded junk without any limits. If they won't eat regular foods, we immediately end up opening the bottle of Nutella, just so they eat atleast something.

This habitual consumption of sugary foods is extremely harmful for our children's health. Here's a quick comparison on the amount of sugar and unhealthy refined fats in these choco-spread brands.

As you can see, more than 50% of the product is SUGAR. This one reason is strong enough NOT to buy and stock up these spreads at home. I had earlier written in detail about Nutella and Hersheys Choco spreads. Do take a look if you haven't.

If your kid is 1-2 years old, then do not serve them idli/dosa with sugar or chapathi with ketchup. They get used to the sweet taste at such a young age. Serve plain idli with a little ghee and chutney/sambhar without any chilli flavour.
If your child has started to read, show them the pack and ask them to read the first 2 ingredients. 
For older children, sit down, have a chat and make them understand the sugar and chemicals in these spreads. They can calculate the % of sugar if they are familiar with division, fractions, percentages etc. This helps them to start reading labels and understanding the nutrition table right from the age of 8-10 years. Instead of just following orders from parents, they start to take responsibility and become more involved in the shopping decisions. Also helps to put Maths concepts to practical use :-)

P.S. If you are thinking about using them in moderation or keeping them for "emergency" days when the kid wouldn't eat anything, sorry that ain't gonna work. What I have learnt is that if there is junk sitting in the fridge, kids would remember and reach for it all the time. If there is no stock at home, they would eat whatever is available. As simple as that.

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