Daily tips to cut down on sugar
Try these easy swap ideas to reduce the amount of sugar you and your kids eat throughout the day!
Healthier swaps at breakfast
- When you're shopping, look for breakfast cereals that have wholegrains and that are lower in sugar (and check the salt and fat levels too.
- If you're having a little trouble swapping to plain cereal, you could start by mixing a little sugary cereal with the plain and increase the plain a little each day until you've totally swapped - and no one will probably notice!
- When serving up the new plain cereal, try adding different fruit - like raspberries or blueberries and low-fat, lower-sugar yoghurt.
- Here's a great way to start a Saturday or Sunday - wholewheat soft tortillas wrapped around a tomato and fresh pepper omelette. It could soon become a top family breakfast treat!
Try a drinks swaps
When kids get thirsty, we very often give them fizzy drinks or sugary squash and juices. But around a quarter of the added sugar in kids' diets comes from sugary drinks!
- You could start your swaps by buying smaller sizes and swapping some of usually sugary drinks to sugar free or no added sugar drinks.
- Instead of sugary, fizzy drinks, why not try lower-fat milks for a change? Fresh and ice-cold from the fridge, not only does it taste great, it’s a source of calcium, which helps keep our bones and teeth strong too.
- When kids want a fizzy drink, try sparkling water poured over lots of ice and served with a wedge of lime or lemon. Add a couple of straws and it should go down refreshingly well!
- For a super weekend treat, why not blend a banana with some ice cubes and cold semi-skimmed milk, then sprinkle the top with cinnamon – scrummy!
After school swaps
We all know the kids are hungry after a long day at school. But try swapping sugary biscuits, sweets, pastries and chocolate for snacks with less sugar such as fruit, plain unsalted nuts, plain rice cakes or toast. These will keep them going until dinner (plus, you won't get nagged for more food every five minutes!).
- Once you’ve written your shopping list, why not get your child/kids to help you find snacks in the supermarket that are lower in sugar? Tell them to look for colour-coded front of pack nutrition labels that have more green on them than red. You could even make a game of it!
- Before you pick up your kids from school, take a few moments and put together some healthier snacks (such as chopped up fruit, veggie sticks, plain rice cakes, plain unsalted nuts and carrot sticks) to take with you. Then if sweets and cakes tempt them, you’ve got a handy alternative to offer!
- Get your kids involved in (see page preparing healthier snacks and simple recipes for child-friendly ideas) they are more likely to eat it, if they’ve helped prepared it!
- Try not to use sugary snacks, sweets and chocolate as rewards. Try other rewards such as stickers, trips to the park or a visit to a friends.
- Of course, cutting out sugary snacks is great, but it doesn’t have to be a total ban. Once you are on your way to giving healthier snacks, you could let your kids pick a favourite sweet snack once a week. But you may find they actually start preferring the healthier snacks anyway as time goes by!
Healthier puds swaps
A simple pudding swap can be really tasty and filling, as well as healthier. Switch from things like sugary puddings to more refreshing ones like fruit, which also count toward your 5 A DAY.
- Don’t forget about me sized puds because we don’t all need to eat the same amount of food – and children need less than adults.
- Cutting down on sugar doesn’t mean no more puds! Apple and blackberry crumble is easy to make without much sugar. Serve with a dollop of low-fat, lower sugar yoghurt sprinkled with cinnamon and enjoy!
- If you fancy ice cream, choose low-fat, lower sugar yoghurt instead. There are some very tasty fruit options in the supermarket.
- If you’re all out having a meal for a treat and you fancy topping it off with a pudding – why not share? Restaurants are very happy to bring one pudding and two or more spoons!
Can I give my kids fruit? I know it contains sugar, so is it bad for them?
Although it can contain a lot of sugar, fruit is a healthier choice because it also contains fibre, vitamins
and minerals. Giving them fruit is also a great way to encourage them to eat their 5 A DAY.
Try to avoid giving the kids foods and drinks with added sugars, which are the ones put in to make them taste
sweeter. In the ingredients list, sugar added to food may be called things like glucose, sucrose, dextrose, corn
syrup or invert sugar. Fruit juice and honey can also count as ‘added sugars’ as they are sometimes added to food
to make them sweeter.
Try a juice swap!
If your family likes fruit juice, try to limit your fruit juice to 150mls a day and have it with a meal because it is high in sugar and can cause tooth decay.
Here’s a simple idea – try mixing unsweetened fruit juice, like orange or apple, with fizzy water. Serve it in a long glass with a couple of straws and your kids will think it’s as good as pop!
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