5 Ways To Reduce Your Baby’s Sugar Intake
Concerned about your child’s sugar intake? Aileen Cox Blundell of babyledfeeding.com gives her advice.
You will be hard pressed to find a child that doesn’t have a sweet tooth, but with obesity at an all-time high, we have to all make changes in how our babies and children are eating.
For parents with one child, it is easy to make sure your little one is eating right as they get all their food from you. However, if you’re like me and have older children and are doing baby-led weaning, you know that your baby will want to eat what everyone else is eating.
So, if the older children are eating a chocolate bar, well then your baby will want to eat a chocolate bar too, it’s the nature of weaning your baby in this way.
But treats, as in sweets and chocolate, are not the only way our children are getting their sugar. You’ll be surprised how much packaged food contains sugar; cereals, jars of sauces, bread, beans, ketchup and almost all condiment sauces, even crackers. All of these go towards your child’s daily sugar intake.
The WHO recommends that no more than 10% of our diet should come from free sugars and if we can get that down to 5% it would show significant changes to the health of everyone.
So, as an Irish Mammy who promotes feeding babies and children healthy and nourishing food, here are my top 5 tips on how I reduced my own children’s sugar and they all worked!
1. Make treats occasional
In our home, we limit the amount of treats, even the healthy ones to Friday and Saturday only. The rest of the week we only serve healthy nourishing food and if they want something sweet, I give them a little fruit. Treats are also never as a reward for doing something like picking up toys or cleaning rooms or especially for eating their veggies.
2. Ditch the sugary breakfast cereals
Breakfast for us is usually oats in some form, whether that be porridge with some berries added in or overnight oats or oat bars with seeds and nut butter. Eating oats really helped my kids get to their snack time without looking for anything else.
3. Goodbye to juice
Water and milk are the only drinks your little one needs. Fruit juices have a staggering amount of sugar in them and even though they claim to be healthy they add a huge amount of sugar to a child’s diet. It took a while for my children to stop asking ‘where’s the apple juice’ before they just forgot about it.
4. Make food from scratch
I know this is a hard one at times, especially if you’re a busy parent, but it really does make a huge difference to your entire families health. Not only that, but the food tastes so much nicer when you’ve put love into it. The key for me on busy days is to make food in double or triple batches and freeze. Believe me, it is honestly as quick to make 3 portions of a tomato pasta sauce as it is to make one. Just take a dinner out of the freezer the night before you want to use it and hey presto it’s literally as quick as opening a jar… and WAY nicer too!
5. Natural yogurt with fruit rocks!
Sweet yogurts are one of the biggest sugar culprits. So, instead of giving these to my little ones I just add a few punnets of washed strawberries or raspberries to a blender, blend until smooth and silky then pour into an ice tray and freeze. When they want yogurt I take one ice cube out of the freezer, place over a thick natural or greek yogurt and it will usually defrost in about 10 minutes at room temperature. You can speed it up in about 30 seconds in the microwave either. It’s not as sweet as a store bought one but after a while, they get used to eating it and it is so much healthier.
Changing the way our children eat starts from the very beginning and working as a family, encouraging each other, really helps.
Get lots of ideas for healthy recipes and natural (occasional) treats at babyledfeeding.com
Written by Aileen Cox Blundell of babyledfeeding.com, for eumom.
Solid food only suitable for babies age 6 months and older.