How to Reduce Sugar Intake in Your Kids Diet
Between juice for breakfast, cookies for snack, and a cupcake at their best friend’s birthday party – our children are surrounded by tasty treats that are packed full of sugar.
Around the globe, we are consuming far too much sugar – and our children are no exception to this sugary disaster. Everything is good in moderation, but most parents don’t even realise how much sugar their child is actually consuming on a daily basis.
As a parent, you wouldn’t dare pack your kids a lunchbox with only four chocolate bars, right?
However, did you know that by packing your child a whole-wheat peanut butter and jelly sandwich, fruit punch, and a cup of applesauce, they are actually consuming a whopping 76 grams of sugar?
That comes out to about 16 teaspoons of sugar which are actually more than the sugar in 4 Twinkies.
Too much sugar is unhealthy in several ways – it can lead to obesity – which could lead to other problems like diabetes, skin problems, and dental issues.
By constantly consuming sugar-filled sodas and sweet treats, your child’s teeth could be damaged…
And, eventually, this tooth damage could cause cavities, which could eventually lead to tooth loss. Furthermore, tooth loss would lead to the need for a solution and you might find yourself in a position to consider a dental graft.
But, how do you reduce your child’s sugar intake before it does real damage to their body?
I will answer that for you with a few helpful pointers:
- Consume non-processed whole foods.
Even foods that are marketed to be “healthy” can contain high amounts of sugar if they are processed. By eating more foods in their natural state, you will eliminate the added sugars found in processed foods.
- Eliminate or drastically reduce the consumption of sugary drinks.
Yes, sports and energy drinks are included in sugary drinks. Also included are fruit punch, lemonade, sodas and even 100 percent fruit juice. Manufacturers often add sugar to their juices – even if they say 100 percent fruit juice.
On average, a 12-oz glass of apple or orange juice that claims to be no-sugar-added actually contains about 40 grams of sugar.
Even if they don’t add sugar to it, the juicing processes the fruit goes through generally strips it of the fiber once contained in the fruit so it loses its main health benefit anyways.
Try incorporating more milk and water into your child’s diet.
- Make an effort to serve more fruits and vegetables.
Did you know that children (and adults) should consume 5-9 servings of produce per day? This includes foods such as carrots, bananas, broccoli, apples, and peppers.
Another added benefit to serving more fruits and vegetables is that they contain fibre and water, which will help your children feel fuller.
- Cook at home as much as possible.
As often as we are on the go, this can be hard to do. While eating out is not 100 percent avoidable, meal prepping and planning ahead can make eating home cooked meals and snacks much easier.
The main benefit to eating at home is you can control the ingredients – and therefore the amount of sugar and salt – that go into your child’s meals.
- Discuss food with your child.
Let your child in on what you are doing – it will be easier for them to eat healthier if they understand the reasoning behind it. Teach them why it is important to nurture and take care of their body and how to do it.
- Practice what you teach.
One of the best teaching methods is to lead by example – try eating healthier with them. It will be much easier to encourage them to do it when they see mom and dad doing it as well.
While it might not be the easiest thing to do at first – especially when trying it for yourself as well – it is important that we teach our children how to lead a healthier lifestyle, and this begins with leading by example and making smarter food choices.
*This is a collaborative post written by Annabelle
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