Easy tips to cut sugar from children’s diet
Who doesn’t love sugary treats? Children especially love to eat all things sweet, and the bacteria in their mouth love it even more. The sugar content in the food that you eat is the food for bacteria that can cause gum diseases and tooth decay. By limiting the amount of sugar that your family, especially children, consume is a good way to take care of dental health and overall health. Here are some easy ways recommended by dentist to cut down sugar from the diet.
Drastically cut down sugary drinks from the diet
sugary drinks include lemonade, sodas, energy drinks, and even 100% fruit juice that you buy from the store. Even hundred percent fruit juice often have added sugar. Let’s say there is no added sugar in the particular brand that you buy, the process of juicing the fruit completely eliminate the fibre content, thus making it difficult to feel full and leading to overindulgence. Typically, a glass of apple juice of orange juice may contain up to 40 grams of sugar. Instead of buying fruit juice from the market, train your children to eat whole fruits and drink more water.
Give different choices
Instead of having just one snack at hand, keep a bunch of other snack options ready. You don’t have to give your kids all the snacks that you have at home, but the idea is that they have different options to choose from and they don’t feel too restricted. It is a good idea to have plain yoghurt in the fridge, nuts and raisins, or even carrot sticks or roasted vegetable crisps that they can have with the tasty dip. By giving plenty of different options, your kids will not always go back to the juice box, but may instead try other healthier snacking options in front of them.
Control intake, don’t forbid outright
When you forbid something, it becomes more mysterious and alluring, especially to children. While it is true that excessive sugar can be harmful to our health, it may not be wise to completely stop everything sweet in your child’s diet. Let them occasionally have a chocolate bar or cookies as a treat. As a general rule, avoid keeping sugary snacks at home. When you don’t have access to sugary snacks, you are less likely to consume them. Even if you do have something at home, when you give it to children limit the quantity. Talk to them about why it is important to limit the intake of sugar and help them understand. This is a better strategy than just saying no outright without offering any explanation whatsoever.
Improve the dietary habits of the whole family>
It is pretty much impossible to stop your kids from consuming too much sugar when all other members of the family drink fruit juices and colas all the time. Children learn from their caregivers, and mimic what they are doing. Therefore it is very important for parents also to make healthy dietary choices. It has been proven by research that children who participate in family meals have more healthy eating habits and are more likely to eat vegetables and fruits. These healthy habits will continue into their adult life, and create a strong foundation for their oral and physical health. When you have the same dietary rules for everyone in the family, the children will also find it easier to follow suit.
Be creative with the snack options
This is a little difficult, but important if you have to ensure that children stay on track with the healthy dietary choices. Vegetable sticks and hummus can be great, but that should not be the only snack option. Try and think about creative ways of incorporating colourful fruits and vegetables into the daily meals. Interesting textures and bright colours will make food more appealing. You can also pair some of their favorite flavours with new textures and tastes, so you slowly increase the food repertoire.
Cook at home as often as possible
This is also another difficult thing to do, especially if you have to juggle multiple responsibilities. But try and cook at home as much as possible, because the more you cook at home, the better the control you can exert over the food that they eat. Restaurants will often have a lot of sugar, salt, and fat to make the food taste good. These are the additives that can lead to poor health. When you make food at home, you can avoid these additives and still prepare food that tastes great.
Eat whole unprocessed food
Foods in their natural state usually do not have too much sugar. When food undergoes processing, a lot of sugar and salt are added to them. When you eat food in their natural state, you are eliminating all this added sugar.
Prepare snacks ahead of time
It may be tempting too quickly grab a snack from the vending machine and give it to your kids when you are out and about. But if you do a little bit of planning, you will be able to bring some snacks with you and avoid depending on the vending machine or the snacks counter. Trail mix, fruits, veggie sticks, nut butter dips, hummus, boiled eggs etc. travel well.
Control the after school snacks
When kids come home tired and hungry after school, they will often crave a sugary treat. Instead of giving them something loaded with sugar, give them something like apple slices and cheese, homemade granola bars, veggie sticks with hummus etc. The protein and fat in these food items will give your kids and natural energy boost, and keep them feeling full till dinner.
Have conversations about food
It’s know that too much sugar is bad, but kids do not always understand this. They may wonder why their mother or father is trying to make them eat certain phone more than others. Have conversations with your children about what the family is eating and why. Highlight the positive of healthy food such as how it will give them energy to play their favourite sports, and how it will help them grow tall and strong.
Categorised in: Childrens Dentistry
This post was written by Letooth