Help eliminate sugar in your kids' diets

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Q. Can you suggest ways to cut the amount of sugar in kids' diets?

A. Eve O. Schaub, a mom of two from Vermont, went to the extreme and tried to cut all sugar in all its forms -- honey, agave, etc. -- from her family's diet for an entire year. Her book about her quest, "Year of No Sugar: A Memoir," comes out Tuesday (Sourcebooks, $14.99).

Schaub had these suggestions to easily eliminate some sugar, which she says is making our society fat and sick:

Don't "drink" sugar. "That's a big one," she says. Cut out soda, sports drinks, fruit juice and bottled ice tea. "That alone can cut out an enormous amount of sugar. Suddenly you realize you're left with very few things -- milk, water and unsweetened ice tea."

Choose after-school snacks carefully. Offer items such as plain hummus with carrots or broccoli, cheese with no-sugar-added crackers such as original Triscuits, or popcorn.

Read the ingredient lists of foods you purchase, not just nutrition labels. Sugar has a lot of aliases, such as molasses, evaporated cane syrup and fructose. "Things that sound wonderful really aren't," she says. "Organic pureed fruit juice concentrate" is still sugar, she says. Sugar is also in many foods you might not expect, such as bacon, cold cuts, mayonnaise, ketchup and tomato sauce. Schaub says when she started her quest, she thought there wouldn't be sugar in tortillas. "Surprise, there's sugar in tortillas," she says. "It's in all these crazy hiding places."

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