Help Kick Your Child's Sugar Habits

by Dr. Yasaman Garakani on October 26, 2015

At the Smile Dental Centre we know having a healthy body means having healthy teeth too. And that means keeping a close eye on your child’s sugar intake. Life is busy and schedules are hectic. It’s easy to fall into the trap of grabbing a quick meal or snack that’s high in sugar. Children are actually consuming less sugar than they were in 2000, and that’s great to see, but they are still on average consuming more than the 5 to 15% of total calories recommended by healthy dietary guidelines. Here are some healthy tips to help you and your children achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle by watching your sugar intake.

Studies show that increased added sugar is consumed by children at home more than at school or at restaurants. The truth is that added sugar means empty calories, and empty calories put children at risk of obesity and other health problems that can show up as early as adolescence.

 

So What Can Parents Do to Decrease Sugar Intake at Home?

  • Limit your child’s portions of cookies, candies, and other baked goods for dessert. Try fruit-based desserts with natural sugars instead.
  • When it comes to breakfast, limit your child’s consumption of sugary cereals. Try swapping these with whole-grain cereals and oatmeal which don’t have added sugars. To add sweetness to these breakfast foods, try adding nuts, fruit, and cinnamon.
  • Avoid giving your children flavoured yogurts. Instead, give them plain yogurt blended with frozen berries or other fruit to give it a sweetness that they’ll enjoy.
  • Most of your child’s beverage intake should come from water and unflavoured milk. Limit their intake of juices, sodas, and sports drinks. If you do give them these sugary drinks on occasion, be sure that they brush their teeth or rinse their mouth out with water shortly afterwards to avoid tooth decay.

 

If you have any concerns about whether or not the snacks you are feeding to your children contain added sugar, check the ingredients list on the package. If you see sugar in any form near the top of the ingredient list, chances are that there is too much sugar. Consider whether or not there is a better option that has the same kind of flavour.

 

Source: the Mayo Clinic

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