Get Sugar Smart
Our children are eating and drinking too much sugar. In-fact they consume three times as much sugar as recommended.
Too much sugar can lead to weight gain. Unhealthy weight increases the risk of serious illnesses including type-2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Regularly having a lot of sugar can also cause tooth decay.
Many of the foods and drinks we give our children contain a lot of sugar. This sugar has been added to make products taste sweeter. You might be surprised at just how many everyday foods have added sugar, including; breakfast cereals, soft drinks, and yoghurts.
How can you reduce sugar?
- Swap high sugar items for similar choices with less sugar
- Give smaller portions of sugary items
- Cut back on how often children have sugary drinks and snacks
As adults we can encourage children to make a swap to a lower sugar item by choosing these for ourselves too. For ideas to cut back on sugar visit Change4Life Sugar Smart to help you to reduce sugar in your child’s diet.
The Change4Life Sugar Smart App allows you to scan barcodes on food and drink packaging to reveal how many sugar cubes it contains. This is a free app and can be downloaded via their website.
Sweets, cakes, pastries, biscuits and chocolate should be occasional treats and not given or seen by children as regular snacks. There are lots of other ways to treat and reward children. What about you reading them a story, playing or doing an activity with them, a walk or run together or even extra time to play with friends.
Snacks can provide extra energy in-between main meals. Swap sugary snacks for healthier alternatives, some ideas include;
- Whole fruit or chopped fruit salad.
- Vegetable sticks with dips such as hummous or low fat soft cheese. This helps towards children’s 5-a-day.
- Natural yoghurt. Adding fruit will make this naturally sweeter.
- Slice of toast, tea cake, crackers, rice cakes or plain popcorn.
When does your child snack and which one you could change first? Some parents swap the after school snack to start with. Plan ahead so you have a healthier snack to give them when they ask for it and neither of you reaches automatically for the usual unhealthy option.
Change4Life has lots of suggestions for swapping sugary snacks.
Do you know how many cubes of sugar are in a can of fizzy drink compared to a glass of tap water?
There can be as many as 9 cubes of sugar in fizzy drinks cans but there are zero in plain tap or bottled water!
Children get most of their sugar intake from sugary drinks. These include fizzy drinks, juice drinks, squash and cordial, energy drinks and fruit juice. Even no added sugar and sugar free choices can still damage the protective layer (enamel) on children’s teeth.
Swap sugary drinks for plain water and milk as these are the only tooth friendly drinks for children.
Change4Life has top tips for swapping sugary drinks.