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A Happy Child Isn't Necessarily A Healthy Child

Like many parents, you may worry about the amount of sugar your child gets from the food and drinks they are consuming every day.

One of the main issues with young children is some parents use sweets and chocolate as a reward for good behaviour. But do you ask yourself, what effect sugar can have on your children?

For children between the ages of 2 and 18, the recommended daily sugar intake is a maximum of 6- teaspoons which is equivalent to 25grams or 100 calories. To put this in to perspective, on average a milk chocolate bar has 23 grams of sugar which is the vast majority of your child’s limit for the day, this figure might shock you but sugar is hidden in so many foods and drinks that we would never expect.

It’s in juice, pasta sauce, rice and even bread- so even if you are really careful it can be almost impossible to stick to the daily limit.

If you are a parent of a picky eater, you likely cater to what your child wants. As long as they are eating something, you are satisfied. What you may not know is that catering to your child's pickiness can have a negative effect on their behaviour, their health and their overall well-being. For example, if your child will only eat certain foods such as macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets, each one of their meals is loaded with calories, sugar and carbohydrates. When every meal that your child eats is so high in calories and sugary carbs, it won't be long before they start putting on weight and develop vitamin deficiency from not eating fruit, salad and vegetables.

What can you do about it?

When it comes to reducing your child’s sugar intake you need to make the changes gradually. You don’t want to take away all their treats as it will most likely end in a temper tantrum from the younger children.

Instead, 1 or 2 everyday swaps per week can make a huge difference. For example, put a low-sugar (full-fat) yoghurt in their lunch box, swap a fruit juice for water infused by chopped up fruit, or swap a chocolate bar for an apple. A prime example to avoid is Innocent Smoothies for kids. Despite the marketing hype these “healthy” fruit juices are concentrated sugar, and can contain more sugar than full-sugar (Original) Coke. Frightening! If that’s not bad enough, then the kids’ cereal “CoCo Pops” is actually a staggering 84% sugar.

If you would like some further information on how to change your own or your children’s diet, call our specialist Graham Phillips who is more than happy to discuss options and alternatives with you.