Although encouraging children to choose a piece of fruit to snack on can be difficult at the best of times, reducing your little one’s sugar intake doesn’t always have to be an impossible feat. Taking our inspiration from Sophie Komninou, a lecturer in infant and child health at Swansea University, we have compiled five different ways to reduce your child’s sugar intake.
1. Be Creative
Bright colours and interesting textures in your children’s after school snacks can add a bit more excitement to the world of healthy food. Jamie Oliver’s homemade Granola bars can be a good place to start – they are quick and easy to make and contain no processed sugars or fats.
Find the full recipe here – https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/uncategorised-recipes/granola-bars/
2. Stock up with different choices
Variety can help to keep your child’s sugar intake at a minimum. Rather than just having the one option available, get a couple of alternatives ready. These don’t need to be presented on a platter, the idea is to give them the autonomy to choose. Some ideas may include pots of plain yoghurt or fromage frais in the fridge, nuts and raisins ready to be scooped out in small handfuls, or some premade roasted vegetable crisps with a healthy dip.
3. Avoid sugary drinks
One of the biggest culprits of our children’s high sugar intake is the number of unhealthy drinks available to them. While fizzy drinks are generally regarded as the unhealthiest options, fruit juices and smoothies can be deceiving. An interesting tool which you can use to calculate the amount of sugar in yours and your children’s drinks is the Channel 4 Sugar Rush Calculator. It takes a number of different drink options and equates them to the number of teaspoons of sugar consumed each week.
In addition, flavoured water and squash can also contain surprising amounts of sugar, leaving plain water as the best option for children to drink. Though many children may claim to dislike the taste, adding little touches like crisp, cold ice, a sprig of mint, or a squeeze of fresh orange can help to change their minds.
Find the calculator here – http://sugarrush.channel4.com/
4. Don’t forbid but do control
The occasional biscuit or chocolate bar will not jeopardise your child’s health, as long as it is just one or two once in a while. As a rule of thumb, avoid keeping sugary snacks in the home and limit the quantity offered when they are available. By teaching your child about their own health, they will be more willing to limit their own sugary desires.
5. Eat healthy as a family
Children tend to learn from those who are around them. Research shows that the children who participate in frequent family meals are more likely to eat their fruit and vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Apply these ideas suggested above to the whole family and your child will begin to feel more encouraged to reduce their sugar intake.