Disclaimer: This post is contributed by Planning With Kids partner Pureharvest.
10 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Sugar Intake
Always read labels carefully. It’s important to know what’s in the food you buy. On face value a food may appear to be sugar free but often sugar is disguised under different names (corn syrup, dextrose, ethyl maltol, sucrose and sorbitol are just a few of the over 50 different names of sugar).
Reduce the sugar content in recipes. A good way to do this is by gradually reducing over time, rather than expecting to cut out all sugars straight away. For example if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar use ¾ cup then drop down to ½ cup.
Substitute sweet snacks with savoury ones. Often children will ask for sweets when what their body is really asking for is proteins and/or fats. Offer dips and crackers or veggies, avocado, humous or a small handful of nuts. This will give their body something that stabilises and satisfied their hunger rather than feeding a desire for sugar.
Substitute sugary desserts with something healthier. Instead of reaching for that tub of ice cream after dinner make sure the freezer is filled with fruit or yoghurt icy poles. Smoothies made with fresh whole fruit are also great as an after school treat. Try them with dairy free milks for a light and refreshing taste. Introduce cane sugar alternatives into your diet. Rice malt syrup, barely malt, purees made from dates or raisins are just some of the alternatives you can use instead of sugar or golden syrup.
Eliminate sugar drinks. Water is always best but sometimes this can be a hard transition, especially if your child is used to having things like fruit juice. We suggest diluting fruit juices with water while you make the transition.
Plan your meals and snacks. Get your kids involved and have fun in the kitchen. We suggest you ask your child to pick out their favourite treat. You can then work together to make the recipe healthier and sugar free.
Don’t be too strict. Make desserts a special, once-a-week treat. That way dessert will be just that – a treat.
Serve smaller portions. Ration rather than ban.
Clean out the pantry and fridge. And you and the family won’t be tempted! Sweetened cereals are often loaded with sugar and refined grains. Replace these with wholegrain cereals such as rolled oats, puffed brown rice and other grain flakes. This way you have control of the amount of sweetness. Spices are a great way to add flavour (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, vanilla) and nutrition!
Keep kids active. Boredom or too much television can mean kids look to eat for eating’s sake. Send them outside to play or ride a bike. Better yet go with them!!
More recipes and tips from Pureharvest
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- Healthy Chocolate Clusters…Seriously?
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- Chocolate Coconut Cake Pop
- Fun Froyo Pops
- Cinnamon Glazed Coconut Doughnuts
- Sweet and Salty Popcorn
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- Family Friendly Chocolate Rum Balls
- Berry Bunny Pancakes
- Anzac Biscuits