Reducing sugar in your child’s diet can improve your child’s health and future well-being. As a person in charge of my family’s nutrition, I want to be sure that my child is provided with a healthy, balanced diet. The majority of children in our world consume too much sugar on a daily basis. Excessive sugar intake can lead to chronic diseases down the road, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. When feeding our children, we should focus on reducing sugar in their diet and providing nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein-rich foods.
What is the difference between added sugar and natural sugar?
Natural sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit, dairy products, and whole grains. Added sugars are those that are added to foods when they are processed. Added sugars can have many different names, such as brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, molasses, raw sugar, and sucrose.
How much is added sugar okay to have?
Children under two years old should not consume any added sugar. Children over the age of 2 should consume no more than 25 grams or 6 tsp of added sugar per day.
Reducing sugar in your child’s diet
Below are some ways to easily reduce the added sugar in our children’s diets!
Serve fruits and vegetables with meals and snacks.
Fruits and vegetables should make up about half of our children’s plates at meals. They are a very nutrient-dense food full of fiber that can help them stay full.
Reducing sugar by limiting our children’s intake of processed foods.
Aim to provide more foods to our children that are in their natural state and not processed. This will help to lower their added sugar intake.
Reducing sugar by avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages include juice, soda, and sports drinks. This is where the majority of children’s added sugar intake comes from. Replace juice in our children’s diets with water or milk.
Pay attention to the nutrition facts label.
The nutrition facts label is on packaged and processed foods. On that label, it will list the added sugar content. Remember, for children under 2 years of age, it is recommended that they have no added sugar; for children over the age of 2, it is recommended to limit it to 25 grams per day.
Reducing sugar by cooking more at home.
As a parent, I know finding the time to cook at home can be very challenging. Trying to cook more at home lets you control what is going into your children’s foods, which can help `limit their added sugar intake.
Following the above tips can help to reduce our children’s added sugar intake and prevent chronic diseases down the road!