With statistics from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey revealing many kids have on average two times more sugar than they should per day, it’s never been more vital to actively try and reduce your child’s sugar intake. Not only is too much sugar bad for your child’s health, it can also lead to tooth decay, reduced brain function and can make kids feel tired and sluggish. Here’s some easy ways for parents to reduce the amount of sugar in your child’s diet and start making some smart food choices.
What Are The Daily Sugar Allowances For Children?
The maximum daily amounts of added sugar are:
- 4 to 6 years: 5 cubes (19 Grams)
- 7 to 10 years: 6 cubes (24 Grams)
- 11+ years: 7 cubes (30 Grams)
Sugary drinks such as fizzy drinks, sports drinks and fruit juices add a considerable amount of sugar to your child’s diet. Often these are referred to as ‘empty calories’ and don’t provide any nutritional value. Instead, swap out these kinds of drinks with sugar-free alternatives, low-fat milks and water. If you want to make water a little more exciting, try adding fresh fruit to a jug in the fridge. This way it infuses the water, giving it a subtle flavour that isn’t full of sugar.
Make 5 A Day Fun
Children and adults should be eating around 5 to 9 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. In fact, fruit and vegetables help keep kids feeling fuller for longer as they contain water and plenty of fibres. We recommend making 5 a day fun by having a chart for each day of the week in the kitchen, where your kids can either tick off or write on their 5 a day. This way means everyone in the family can be a little more mindful of what they’re eating and it’s more fun for your child too.
Keep Your Eye On Cereal
Breakfast cereals often seem like the easy option in the morning, but they’re usually heavily processed, meaning they’re high in sugar and low in fibre. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on what you’re buying and try to choose wholegrain cereals that aren’t coated in honey or sugar. Choose anything from wholewheat biscuits, bran flakes or oat-based cereals like porridge or muesli. Not only are whole grains a great source of fibre and protein, they also provide essential vitamin B and vitamin E.
Leave Sugar On The Shelf
The simplest trick in the book when it comes to reducing your child’s sugar intake is leaving it on the shelf. If you don’t buy biscuits, sweets, crisps and sugary drinks in the supermarket, the whole family won’t be able to eat them!
Snacks are usually the biggest culprit when it comes to your kids’ high sugar intake. That’s why it’s a great idea to prepare healthier alternative snacks made with wholesome ingredients at home. We recommend keeping plenty of slices of fruit and veggies such as carrots, cucumber and apples in the fridge so there’s always something your child can grab out and enjoy. Making your own trail mixes or healthy cereal bars will also help keep sugar intake low, as shop bought versions can sometimes have lots of hidden sugar and fat inside. Finally, get your kids involved in healthy baking. We love flapjacks made with oats, apple, seeds and nuts.
Cook More At Home
We know cooking from scratch every night can be difficult with everyone’s busy schedules to contend with. However, the more you or your partner can cook for the family at home, the more control you have over the foods you all eat. Restaurant food, takeaways and ready meals often have lots of sugar and fat to enhance the taste and in general aren’t very good for you. However, these additives aren’t necessary for making foods taste good- which is why cooking fresh, whole foods at home will give you and your kids much more nutritional benefits and much less sugar!
NHS Drink Swaps For Kids
NHS Sugar Swaps For Kids
Interactive Sugar Calculator