Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake
Improve your child’s diet (and yours, too) with these yummy swapsBy FamilyFeatures
Many children often consume an unhealthy amount of added sugar every day, and it’s important to aim for reducing the levels of sugar they eat. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Small children have small stomachs,” points out Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar.” The academy recommends against the consumption of added sugar for children under the age of 2. Children ages 2 to 18 should aim for less than 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons, of added sugar per day.
Of course, children aren’t the only ones eating too much sugar. Teens and adults also suffer many adverse health effects from eating more sugar than is good for them. For families that want to cut down on added sugar, Hines recommends cooking more at home, relying less on processed, packaged foods and serving only water or milk for beverages. Consider these low-sugar ideas to help control the amount of added sugar you and your loved ones consume.
Herbs, spices, citrus and fresh fruit add flavor without relying on the added sugars found in many popular sauces and dips. Consider making your own low-sugar alternatives at home so your family can still enjoy favorite flavors like these:
- Ranch Dressing In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, buttermilk, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper for a nutritionist-approved take on a favorite dip. Serve over salad or as vegetable dip.
- Honey Mustard Popular on a variety of sandwiches and as a dip or salad dressing, combining plain yogurt with milk, honey and regular or Dijon mustard can create a more family-friendly version.
- Teriyaki Sauce Perfect for serving with healthier options like Lo Mein, chicken wraps or fried rice, a homemade version can be created using water, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and cornstarch slurry.
Toppings for pancakes
Pancakes are a popular breakfast option in many homes, but even the healthiest whole-grain pancake becomes a plateful of sugar if it’s doused in syrup. These toppings are sweet and savory without the added sugar:
- Nut butter or seed butter (such as peanut, almond or sun) and banana slices
- Warm fruit compote (mix of warmed berries)
- Applesauce (no-sugar-added variety) and cinnamon
- Nut butter swirled into plain yogurt; mix in
- 1–2 teaspoons vanilla extract to add a sweet flavor
Still snack sweet
Opting for less added sugar doesn’t mean avoiding sweet snacks altogether. These alternatives can still help satisfy cravings:
- Applesauce with baked cinnamon pita triangles for dipping
- Toast topped with nut or seed butter, smashed banana and sprinkle of cinnamon
- Frozen fruit smoothies
- Plain yogurt topped with granola, nuts, seeds or fruit
- Apple slices with nut or seed butter
More ways to be health conscious