Artificial and added sugars in food are low on nutrients but very high on calories. For your child’s health, it is essential to reduce the amount of food and beverages with added sugars.
Most added sugars come from soft drinks, energy drinks, artificial juices, cakes, cookies/biscuits, ice cream, chocolates, and other desserts. Here are some ways to limit your child’s sugar intake.
- Serve small portions: It’s not necessary to get rid of all sweets and desserts. Show your child that a small amount of treats can go a long way. Use smaller bowls and plates for these foods. Have your child share a chocolate bar or split a large cupcake.
- Sip smarter: Soft drinks and juices contain a lot of sugar and are high in calories. Offer water, freshly squeezed juice, or fat-free milk when your child is thirsty.
- Smart shopping: When in a grocery store with your child, use the check-out lane that does not display chocolates. Most grocery stores will have a chocolate-free check-out lane to help mothers out. Waiting in a store line makes it easy for children to ask for things that are right in front of their faces to tempt them.
- Choose not to offer sweets as rewards: By offering food as a reward for good behaviour, children learn to think that some foods are better than other foods. Reward your child with kind words and comforting hugs, or give them non-food items, like stickers, to make them feel special.
- Make fruit the everyday dessert: Serve baked apples, pears, or enjoy a fruit salad.
- Make food fun: Sugary foods that are marketed to kids are advertised as “fun foods”. Make nutritious foods
- Encourage kids to invent new snacks: Make your own snack mixes from cereals, dried fruits, and unsalted nuts or seeds. Provide the ingredients and allow kids to choose what they want in their “new” snack.
- Play detective in the cereal aisle: Show kids how to find the amount of total sugars in various cereals. Challenge them to compare cereals they like and select the one with the lowest amount of sugar.
- Make treats “treats”, not everyday foods: Treats are great once in a while. Just don’t make treat foods an everyday thing. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.
- If kids don’t eat their meal, they don’t need sweet “extras”: Keep in mind that chocolates or biscuits should not replace foods that are not eaten at meal time.