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Kids Health: Reducing Sugar in Children’s Diets

Posted on Jul 15, 2013 by Guest Writer

Sugar is found in a myriad of different kids health foods – sometimes without us even suspecting it is there.

Alarmingly, sugar isn’t just in the obvious, like lollies and soft drinks, it is often a key ingredient in fruit juice, flavored fruit and milk beverages, energy drinks, sports drinks, many types of yogurt and children’s cereal.

While from birth children are shown to have a hardwired preference towards sweets, this has been scientifically attributed to the rapid growth period the body goes through, with cravings declining from adolescence onwards.

Though kids today are, on the whole, consuming less sugar then in 2000, consumption rates are still well above the recommended daily intake (MayoClinic RDI for 6-11 year olds is less than 20 teaspoons and for 12-19 year olds a maximum of 24 teaspoons). For parents looking to cut down on sugar, or improve their kids health, check out the following tips below!

How to Quit Sugar Tip 1: Eat, Eat, Eat!

One of the best ways to reduce sugar cravings is to stabilize blood sugar levels. When kid’s bodies crave sweets, particularly during high growth periods, they are really just looking for protein. Reduce this want for sugar by offering your littlies foods like eggs, beans, spinach, nuts, avocado and coconut oil, which are all loaded with protein and goods fats.

How to Quit Sugar Tip 2: Be A ‘Food Swapper’

If Tip 1 didn’t work and your kids are still begging for a sweet treat, swap that sugary snack for fruit! The sugars in fruit are broken down and utilized differently to normal table sugar. Fruit is also void of artificial colors, flavors and ingredients and has higher amounts of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals than a token candy bar or cola! NB. This applies only to fresh fruit, not the dried variety.

How to Quit Sugar Tip 3: Make Gradual Changes

Instead of going cold turkey on sugar intake, think about cutting down slowly. This is an effective method for both adults and small children, whose bodies are not equip for drastic dietary changes. If two sweets are being consumed per day, aim to cut back to one a day for a week. The next week you could consider eating the sweet every second day and gradually reduce your intake further, as the sugar cravings subside.

How to Quit Sugar Tip 4: Get To Know Your Labels

To help minimize the amount of sugar your child consumes, it’s a great idea to learn to read food labels. As a rule of thumb, high sugar items contain 15g of sugar per 100g of food and low sugar items contain 5g or less per 100g of food. Sugar can also be disguised as many different names on the ingredients list, including glucose, sucrose, maltose, corn syrup, fructose, hydrolyzed starch, lactose, mannitol and honey. When checking out the ingredients take note of where sugar appears on the list. As items are listed from highest to lowest volume, if sugar appears in the top five, re-think purchase!

How to Quit Sugar Tip 5: Make Allowances

For many people, sugar is associated with celebrations in life, think Christmas desserts, chocolates at Easter and birthday cake. This is the same for your children. Be sure to treat sugar as a ‘sometimes’ food and allow consumption in small doses. This allows kids to form a healthy relationship with sugar and understand the concept of quality over quantity.

Have you got any tips on kids health and sugar? Or any more ideas for reducing sugar cravings? We’d love to hear your thoughts, let us know in a comment below!

This article was compiled by Inspire Education, an Australian leading provider of Nationally Accredited and Nationally Recognized Vocational Education and Training Courses, including Child Care Courses like the Certificate III in Children’s Service and Diploma of Children’s Services. 





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