Good habits should be instilled early in life. However, a bad dietary habit that many people – especially children – succumb to is one that consists of high sugar intake. Now that’s not to say that sugar-rich foods aren’t OK to give to your children on special occasions and in moderation, but The Food and Drug Administration advises all Americans ages 3 and up to consume no more than 12 teaspoons (50 grams) of added sugar per day.
Why? High sugar intake is associated with a lot of health risks, including metabolism effects, weight gain and possible cardiovascular issues – and that’s not even taking into consideration tooth decay and the destruction of tooth enamel.
With that in mind, just how do you cut down on your child’s sugar intake so they aren’t exceeding the recommended daily allotment? Here’s a look at a few tips:
How to cut down on sugar in your kids’ diet
- Check the label (especially in juices): About half of all added sugar consumed by Americans comes from sweetened drinks. When it comes to your child, applicable drinks they are consuming are likely to be soda, juice and sports drinks. While we believe soda can be consumed by children on special occasions, your child may consume juice and sports drinks more regularly. If this is the case, be sure to check the label for sugar content and opt for sugar-free or low-sugar options. Instead of the aforementioned drinks, we encourage your child to consume mostly water and milk.
- Replace high-sugar snacks with healthy alternatives: You probably give your child a snack a few times a day. But are you monitoring what you’re administering? Instead of fatty, sugary foods, try healthy alternatives like apple slices and other fruits, veggie sticks and cheese.
- Smarter Meals: On-the-go families have a tendency to eat conveniently. Unfortunately, eating conveniently also often means eating foods that are pumped with sugar. To avoid this, try to prepare home cooked meals in advance so that you can just throw them in the oven for convenience on those busy days.
- Be a good example: If your child sees you chugging down soda and eating candy all the time, they’ll want to do it too – so be a good example and be sure that you talk to your child about how it’s important that candy and other high-sugar foods and drinks are best consumed in moderation. Don’t just focus on what not to eat, but why it’s important to eat certain healthy foods as well. You can even practice healthy eating together.
It can be difficult to cut back on your child’s sugar intake, especially if they’ve grown accustomed to certain drinks, snacks or foods. However, it should be done, as high-sugar foods and drinks are best consumed in moderation or as special treats.
For more information on the health impact of regularly consuming too much sugar on a daily basis, and for more ways to reduce it from your child’s diet, contact Caven Dental today.