Many of us will admit to having a sweet tooth, but too much sugar has been heavily linked to obesity and many other health problems in both adults and children.
Cutting out the sugar can be easier said than done, but it's important that you don't let your children over consume it and get them into good habits early on in their life.
Here's some of our top tips on how you can limit the amount of sugar in your little one's diet.
Fizzy Drinks and Juice
Your children should really be drinking mostly water and milk. Fizzy drinks are bad for both children and adults, and are usually stacked full of artificial flavourings and sweeteners. While fruit juice may seem like a healthy alternative, they are normally stripped of any beneficial fibres, and contain a much higher amount of sugar than whole pieces of fruit would do.
We recommend saving fruit juices or cordials for special occasions, or once a day at dinner only. If you have a fussy drinker in your family, the key to success is patience. Start by diluting your little one's drinks down and eventually they'll begin to enjoy drinking water!
TOP TIP: Make sure you have lots of fun cups and straws to make it more exciting for them - they'll completely forget it's just water.
Rewarding With Food
How often do we reward our children (and ourselves) with sugary treats when they've been good? It may seem like a good idea at the time, but using unhealthy food as a reward can have a negative impact on your child's relationship with food. Try to use other things like fun activities at the weekends or in the evening when they've been good and save the sugary treats for weekends or special occasions.
Sometimes, reaching into the snack cupboard is just the easiest way out when your little one is crying out for food. Being stocked on healthier alternatives is another great way of reducing the temptation for sugary snacks. Remember, sugar won't keep your little one full for very long and can lead to sugar-fuelled tantrums - what their body really needs is protein. Make sure you're always well equipped with things such as apples, bananas, cheese and any homemade snacks that are packed full of things like oats and grains, especially when you're out and about!
Don't make healthy eating seem like a chore for you or your child, otherwise that will be the reality. Get them excited and make them feel involved by using bright, fun colours and fun preparation techniques. You can cut your veggies into little hedgehogs, make healthy kebab skewers and even fruit salads can be exciting to put together with your children. Remember, don't make sugar the enemy as it will only make your children want it more!
Be Honest and Educate
When your little one is old enough to understand properly, be honest and educate your child on WHY eating so much sugar is unhealthy for you, highlighting the benefits of a more healthy and balanced diet. Avoid negative reinforcements such as "it will make you fat" and instead explain that it's important that we eat more of certain kinds of foods than others. Positive affirmations like "this will help your bones to grow and develop" or "this food will give you lots of energy to play in the park today" will go down much better!
The Right Environment
Creating a healthy and calm environment for mealtimes can be really beneficial. It can be a chance for you to bond as a family, so try not to let them mindlessly consume their food while watching TV as much as you can. CuddleCo's Childhome Evolu One.80° Chair is the perfect high chair to use once your baby can sit up unaided. It's suitable for any child between six months and six years and can be easily adjusted in three positions without the need to move the entire chair - making mealtimes much easier for parents!
So remember, don't panic about using healthy snacks as an alternative to sugar - your little one's may take to the healthy eating much easier than you thought.