Tuesday 15 February 2011

Change4Life: Step 4 Sugar Swaps

There are some great tips on the Change4Life website which can help us parents make informed choices about the sugar in our children's diet. As they say:

We wouldn’t let our kids eat sugar straight from the sugar bowl. But we tend not to think about the sugar hiding in the other things they eat and drink.

So what can we do to reduce the sugar in our children's diet:

1) Drink Swap: switch from sugary drinks to sugar free ones. Best of all are water, milk, unsweetened fruit juice or sugar free versions of your normal drinks.

2) Snack Swap: give your children fruit, unsalted nuts, breadsticks, rice cakes or toast instead of cakes, biscuits, chocolate or sweets.

3) Food Label Swap: Look at the traffic lights for products with green or amber instead of red. Make sure the product is marked low sugar or sugar free.

4) Breakfast Swap: Switch from sugary cereals to low sugar versions, fruit or toast. Just be careful how much sugar is in the toast topping!

5) Dessert Swap: Instead of sugary desserts have a yoghurt or fruit. Look at the labels and choose the version of your favourite pudding with the lowest sugar content.

Sugar facts (from the Change4Life website):

  • There are more than 7 teaspoons of sugar in the average can of cola.
  • The average person in Britain consumes about 700g of sugar a week* - that’s 140 teaspoons!
  • Sugar can even be in some baked beans and shop-bought pasta sauces.
  • Sugar can cause tooth decay - so encourage kids to clean their teeth regularly, especially after meals or sugary foods.
  • Too much sugar means excess energy, which can lead to stored fat in the body. And this can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Anything over 15g of sugar is high, so try to eat these less often
  • Between 5g and 15g is medium
  • Healthier options have with 5g of sugar or less - this is low

For great ideas on swapping to lower sugar snack options use the handy guide on the Change4Life website.

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