Tame The Sweet Tooth: 10 Ways to Reduce Sugar from Your Child’s Diet
“Pleaaaaase, just one more candy”
“I ate all my lunch. I want a treat.”
“I want chocolate. I want chocolate. I want chocolate!”
How often have we been worn out by our kids’ demands for treats? How often have we refused to give them treats concerned about their sugar intake and yet have found high amounts of sugar even in kid-friendly foods?
Why is too much sugar bad for our child?
1. Poor nutrition: Processed food high in sugar provide empty calories, filling up our child, leaving no room for important nutrients needed for healthy growth and development.
2. Weight gain and obesity: Eating too much sugar can put our child at the risk of obesity and may lead to a lifetime of eating disorders and health problems.
3. Tooth decay: Frequent snacking of sugar-rich foods may cause tooth decay by allowing bacteria to grow especially if oral hygiene is neglected.
So how do we reduce our child’s sugar intake?
Here are 10 simple ways that we can make some changes in our family’s sugar intake.
- When baking at home, opt for fruit-based pies and cakes. Also, try reducing the quantity of sugar so that it doesn’t affect the overall taste.
- Serve smaller portions of treats. And reserve them for special occasions. Check the nutrition labels of confectionary products and offer just one serving.
- Skip the sweetened yoghurt and offer plain yoghurt topped with fruit pieces or berries.
- For a nutritious snack, opt for a homemade milkshake. Blend 1 cup of NIDO® fortified with FORTIGROW milk with a banana and oats.
- Stick to water. Ban colas, sweetened tetrapak juices and sports drinks at home. Even if we give our child fruit juice at home, we should make sure it’s unsweetened.
- Breakfast cereals are convenient but also laden with sugar. Opt for wholegrain cereals with reduced sugar content, and if needed add a teaspoon of honey as a sweetener.
- Look out for these words in the ingredient list: corn, cane or malt syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey or jam, fructose sweetener, molasses, dextrose and dextrin. They all mean that sugar has been added.
- Opt for foods that say, ‘no sugar added’ or ‘unsweetened’.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand at home such as chopped fruits, veggie sticks, whole grain crackers, cheese, homemade popcorn etc.
- Avoid using sweets as a reward or as a way to bargain for our kids to behave appropriately.
Mums, it’s not easy to tame your child’s sweet tooth. But, if we make small changes and stick to them consistently, we will be setting the right foundation for healthy eating which will stand our kids in good stead in the years to come.