The daily sugar intake of children and adults should be 10 percent of their total calorie intake.
However, children, these days take roundabout 16 percent of sugars in their diet.
This is a result of excessive added sugars in products such as juice, soft drinks, ice cream and candies.
As a parent, you should try to reduce your child’s sugar intake but we know that it is hard.
Once they start eating sugars, it is difficult to put limits on them but it is not impossible.
By doing so you will be protecting your children from many health issues.
Learn how you should manage their intake and why it is healthy in this article.
Where Does Your Child’s Daily Sugar Intake Come From?
Sugars are in every food and they are healthy and necessary to some extent.
However, excess added sugar can be bad for your child.
There has been a recent increase in the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in children.
Around 600 children have it solely in England and Wales which indicates an alarming trend on the rise.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults over 40 so young children and teenagers getting it is a serious concern.
What’s more, is that excessive sugar consumption can lead to childhood obesity.
Children of ages 2 to 18 should consume about 6 teaspoons of sugar but they are already taking 7 teaspoons (or 36 grams) of sugar per day by the age of 2.
Anything more than that can cause weight gain and health problems such as heart disease.
Therefore, there is an urgent need to cut back on added sugars.
Most of these lie in what they drink.
Parents think that candies, biscuits and chocolates and things that their children eat contribute more to their sugar consumption.
But actually, a lot more sugars lie in their drinks.
It is in juices and milk as well as other processed foods and drinks.
If you want to look them up, not all will be named as glucose.
You will find fructose, corn syrup, brown sugar, honey, maltose, lactose, raw sugar, sucrose, molasses, corn sweetener and dextrose.
Hence, do not only search for glucose content.
These sugars reduce the good cholesterol (HDL) in children and increase the bad cholesterol (LDL).
So how do you reduce their consumption of these sugars? Keep reading below to find out!
Reducing Daily Sugar Intake
You must be wondering how many grams of sugar per day is for a child?
Children of ages 4 to 6 should take 19 grams of sugar which is equal to 5 teaspoons.
Those above 7 should take around 24 grams of sugar which is roughly equal to 6 teaspoons.
Adults can take 7 teaspoons or 30 grams daily.
Hence, you should try that your child takes only 5 to 6 teaspoons worth of sugar.
But how will you know this? Well, this brings us to our first point.
Check The Labels
If you bring processed food and beverages into the house then it is much easier to control sugar consumption.
All you need to do is to check the nutritional facts behind the packaging.
Check the number of sugars inside the product and try not to buy anything that contains more than 25 grams of sugar.
Especially for your children over 2 and under 7.
Your children under the age of 2 should not be getting any added sugars.
So as long as you don’t bring any sugary product home, your children will not fight you to eat and drink it all the time.
Reduce Sugary Drinks and Introduce Water
Do you give your child juice with their meals?
You will have to stop doing that! This is because most of these juices contain lots of added sugars.
That said, even natural juices contain more daily natural sugar intake than whole fruit.
12 ounces of pure orange juice are equal to a can of soda
Children younger than 3 years old and older than 1, should only take 4 ounces of 100 percent fruit juice.
Those older can take about six to 8 ounces of juice.
Juices contain refined sugars which enter the bloodstream and increase your child’s blood sugar levels.
If you notice some hyperactivity in your child right after drinking juice, this is due to the rise in sugar levels.
Your child may also be drinking energy drinks, soda, sweet tea, colas, that contain extra glucose.
You should limit those as well by giving them milk or water during their meals.
Milk contains calcium, vitamin D, proteins and also natural sugar lactose.
Hence, it is overall beneficial to your child.
Though if you are worried about lactose then you can give them plain water.
If that seems a little tasteless then add a few fruit slices to add flavor.
It will be difficult to let go of their habit of drinking juice but you can begin by slowly cutting back the amount and introducing alternatives.
Prepare Meals Containing Fewer Sugars
You will do your and your family’s health a favor by letting go of processed foods.
Processed foods not only contain added sugars but also chemicals and preservatives that can harm your health over time.
The food item does not necessarily need to be super sweet for you to recognize them.
They are in baked beans, ketchup, cereals and many other food items.
You should instead try to give your children fruits and vegetables and make meals and condiments at home rather than using processed ketchup.
They will be reluctant to eat at first because honestly, vegetables are not as appealing to children as candy.
Eventually, they may grow to like it if you expose it to them 10 to 15 times.
Also, give them raw fruit rather than juices.
You may also want to cut back on their high sugar content cereals.
Though it will be hard to simply stop serving them this as they may refuse to eat anything else.
Be smart and mix the cereal with a low sugar content one with a similar shape.
Also, you can give them alternatives like yogurt and fruit to begin their day.
Let Your Children Learn From You
When you start cooking at home you will have more control over the ingredients and nutrient content.
Also, when you cook allow your children to learn from you.
Take them along grocery shopping and make them learn about sugar intake on the food labels.
This way they will grow this habit of being careful about what they consume as teenagers and adults.
Moreover, use fewer sugars in cookies, biscuits and cake and involve your children in making them too.
You should be their example and role model.
If they will see you drinking cola and juices with meals, then they will want them too.
Similarly, if you eat chocolates and snacks then they will copy your behavior.
On the other hand, if you eat salads then they will want to eat that instead.
Moreover, you can limit snacking on sweets, taking yogurt instead of cereal in breakfast and add fewer sugars in your baked items.
This will help them imitate your behavior and follow suit.
As you will involve them in learning about consuming less sugary foods, they will also imitate that behavior well.
But both you and your spouse should be their role model and should equally contribute in setting good habits in your children.
Hence, you are their example that they will follow, at least be a good example.
Don’t Give Sweet Foods As Reward or Snacks
It is likely for parents, grandparents and teachers to reward children on good behavior and performance with sweets.
Though, this will instill a bad habit in your children.
Hence, rewards for children should never be sugary foods.
It is better to give them rewards that do not include food such as a hug or a trip to the park.
A movie night with the family and stickers can be other forms of reward and appreciation.
Occasionally a good reward could be buying them a present and giving extra screen time.
Also, you should switch the snacks your child eats.
For kids, a snack is synonymous with unhealthy sweets.
Though as a parent, you can change their meaning of snacks.
Make it more a small meal rather than a starchy or sugary food.
Examples include peanut butter sandwiches, cheese sandwiches, fruit slices and yogurt.
Also when you are outdoors on a trip, you should bring snacks like nuts, fruits, vegetables and homemade dips.
This will help your child snack less on unhealthy foods and opt more for healthy alternatives such as nuts and fruits.
Moreover, if you use snacks at celebrations and events then you may let your child savor them for a while or you could replace snacks with healthy food items.
Remember to not go super strict on your children because if you push them then will probably rebel.
Instead, wait for them to follow what you are doing and want them to eat and drink.
It is never a good option to go cold turkey on your children in order to decrease their daily sugar intake.
Give them time and slowly decrease their consumption of sugary foods.
Eventually, you will be able to set a healthy daily intake for them.