Cutting down a toddler’s sugar intake isn’t easy, but it’s definitely a worthwhile battle! If they’re already used to eating a lot of sugary snacks and candy, they’re sure to put up a fight when you start to offer healthier alternatives. However, with a little perseverance and some clever tips, it’s totally possible to introduce them to a healthier, lower-sugar diet.
Here, you’ll discover some great tips to help you reduce your toddler’s sugar intake.
Take Advantage Of Natural Healthy Sweeteners
When you’re looking to add sweetness to your toddler’s meals, it’s easy to just sprinkle a bit of sugar over their porridge oats or cereal. However, children’s cereal is already packed full of a surprising amount of sugar. So, adding additional sugar is going to send their intake through the roof. Instead, you can take advantage of natural sweeteners.
Now, we’re not talking about the artificial sweeteners that you’d typically add to coffee. Instead, we’re talking about more natural sweeteners such as cinnamon or a little natural high-quality honey. This tip alone can drastically cut your toddler’s daily sugar intake.
Swap Juice Boxes For Fresh Juice
By far one of the leading sugar culprits in a toddler’s diet is juice. The pre-bought juice boxes may be really convenient, but they’re also packed full of sugar. It’s actually surprising how much sugar can be found in juice, even varieties that are advertised as being made from 100% fruit juice typically contain some added sugar.
So, rather than investing in juice boxes, consider switching to fresh juice instead. If you don’t want to create your own, make sure you look at the labels of fresh juice to ensure it doesn’t have any added sugar.
Of course, you’ll also want to avoid giving your toddler fizzy soda. These sodas contain a ridiculous amount of sugar, so they should be avoided completely, or at least served in very small quantities.
Avoid Serving Up Pre-Flavored Yogurt
Another common food that’s found in most toddler’s diets, is pre-flavored yogurt. These, especially the ones actually aimed at children, are full of sugar. You wouldn’t think considering how small they are, but in order to achieve their sweet flavor that toddler’s love, manufacturers add a surprising amount of sugar into each little pot.
A healthier alternative is to switch pre-flavored yogurt for natural Greek yogurt. You can then add your own natural sweeteners, such as cinnamon, honey and mashed up low-sugar fruit.
Cook More Homemade Meals
It isn’t just juice and snacks which can come packed full of sugar. The meals you serve up could also be hiding a lot of sugar in them, especially if they’re store-bought. Popular pre-packaged children’s meals are well-known for their high-sugar content, only it is often disguised as something else on the label such as fructose.
It’s also worth noting that restaurants also tend to add a lot of sugar to the meals they serve up. So, if you and the family like to dine out a lot, you could be giving your toddler a lot more sugar than you realize.
The only way to really control how much sugar goes into your child’s meals, is to make them yourself. Cooking from scratch isn’t always easy when you have a toddler to look after! However, by cooking in bulk on quieter days for example, it’s possible to cook more homemade meals for you and the family.
Eliminate Processed Foods
Following on from the above point, processed foods should also be eliminated. Focusing on whole foods instead will dramatically cut your toddler’s sugar intake. All processed foods contain a lot of sugar. They also contain a lot of other nasty ingredients too. So, eliminating them out of both yours and your toddler’s diet is going to deliver many health benefits.
You may need to get used to reading food labels and carry out a little research to see which processed foods should be avoided. However, it will definitely be worth the additional effort to ensure your toddler is eating a healthy, balanced, low-sugar diet.
Avoid Serving Up Pre-Packed Snacks
Switching your toddler’s snacks to healthier alternatives is another way to bring down their daily sugar intake. Keep in mind that the majority of the pre-packed snacks that are marketed at children in grocery stores, are rich in sugar.
So, does this mean you need to bake healthy snacks from scratch? Absolutely not! Although if you can find the time, making your own snacks is obviously a great way to ensure your toddler is eating a healthier diet. However, if you don’t have the time, you can always just switch to whole food snacks. Think vegetable sticks and hummus, or low-sugar fruit pieces. You don’t need to spend hours in the kitchen to serve up health low-sugar snacks!
Plan Ahead For Trips Out
It’s all well and good controlling your toddler’s sugar intake while you’re in the house, but it can soon go out of the window when you’re out and about. If you know you’re going to be heading out with your toddler, it’s best to think ahead and pack some healthy snacks ahead of time. This will stop you reaching for a candy bar or some other sugar-packed snack while you’re out.
These are the best ways to reduce your toddler’s sugar intake. As you can see, it’s largely about making healthier switches. Often parents have no idea how much sugar is contained within the foods they serve their children. Even just the amount of sugar contained in condiments such as tomato ketchup is surprisingly high. Being aware of how much added sugar is in popular foods will help you to start making healthier changes.
Have you successfully managed to reduce your toddler’s sugar intake? If so, we’d love to hear your tips and advice. Share them in the comments below.