Cut down on your children’s sugar intake

January 14, 2015 9:49 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The government has just pulled this new initiative out of the bag – or, half out of the bag, at least, as they haven’t given full details of it just yet. Cunningly timed to appeal to parents just as the Christmas selection boxes run out, and before the full onslaught of Easter eggs, the experts know that now is the ideal time to think about making changes to your family’s diet.

The NHS is keen that parents cut down on the amount of sugar in their children’s diet. With rising rates of childhood obesity, and the increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes that this brings, limiting sugar makes sense.

We love Organic Apricots

If you’re interested in cutting down on sugar, then try these tips – and perhaps some of these products – from Naturally Good Food.

  • Change from sugary snacks. Children, especially young ones, can find it hard to go all the way between meals without a snack. But it doesn’t have to be a sugary one. Try sticks of carrot, cucumber and pepper with a hummus dip, perhaps – or one of these lovely pitta pockets filled with cheese, tuna, ham or similar. A few rice cakes, crackers, breadsticks or oatcakes make a great alternative too, and can of course also be eaten with dips or other fridge ingredients. If there are no allergies to contend with, a handful of nuts (peanuts, almonds or hazelnuts are often popular) is also a good idea.
  • If the kids need a quick energy boost, reach for some fruit, rather than a snack loaded with added sugar. We sell a great selection of dried fruit, which can satisfy a sweet tooth, as well as providing a good boost of vitamins and minerals. Ring the changes – we sell packs of raisins and sultanas, as well as dried apricots, figs and dates. More exotic dried fruit is often very popular – particularly mango. Click here to see the full selection of dried fruit that we stock.
  • Offer water – not juice or fizzy drinks – between meals.
  • Switch to wholegrains: these have the highest nutritional value, so are the best for your family in every respect. In terms of sugar, they take longer for the body to digest, so don’t give the dreaded ‘sugar rush’ associated with ‘white’ carbohydrates. By helping to stabilise your blood sugar levels, you and your kids should find that you crave sugary things much less. Wholegrains also keep you fuller for longer, meaning that everyone has less need to snack.
  • When you feel desperately hungry, often a quick bite of something with protein in it, rather than sugar, can hit the spot.
  • Those with gluten or dairy intolerances can follow these tips just like everyone else. We have a fantastic range of dairy-free and gluten-free products, across all our categories. Indeed, we indicate on our website, for every single product, whether it is gluten- or dairy-free, meaning that you can make an informed choice from a huge range.
  • Try out some alternatives to sugar, when you’re looking to sweeten your own cooking. We have a great range, including agave syrup (nectar), rice syrup, date syrup, a variety of honeys, maple syrup and other sweeteners. Some are notably lower on the glycaemic index than others. We even have desserts made without sugar at all, sweetened solely by the action of fermentation on various grains: click here to see these, from the Clearspring range.
  • Use fruit to sweeten baking, reducing the overall amount of sugar needed. Think about all the great options available in our range of dried fruit, which can be viewed here.
  • Breakfast: often the worst meal of the day, in terms of hidden sugar! Also, often the most fraught meal of the day, if you have young children to get out the door to school or nursery. To make a difference, start by getting rid of the sugary cereals. Have a look at our full range of wholegrain cereals here. You can add dried or fresh fruit to these plain cereals to give some interest and extra goodness. Or go for non-sugar options altogether: toast and marmite, cheese scones or straws, a big Full British helping of protein….

Don’t feel you need to do it all in one go. If you’re changing cereals, or changing to wholegrains from white varieties, you can mix the two together for a while, increasing gradually to the completely healthy option. Take it steady, and you might just take everyone with you!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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