How much sugar are our kids really consuming? With these headlines constantly in the news it is difficult to sometimes know exactly what our children should be eating and drinking. With confusing messages everywhere, Mummy Cooks has put together a simple guide along with some healthy recipes to help you stay on track and overcome any sugar demons your may have uncovered.
Ireland is the 4th highest consumer of sugar in the world. But where is it all coming from?
Our high sugar consumption has developed due to new societal norms that have developed over the last number of years. This is not something that has just appeared overnight; we have spoken before about the hidden sugars in both baby foods and in other supermarket foods. We also discussed the importance of being treat-wise with your little ones before, however the shocking statistics are new and highlight a serious need for action. Children are very impressionable and sugar is highly addictive.
The relationship we develop as a child lasts a lifetime.
Sugar has made its way into our children’s diets from very early on in their lives through its use in follow-on milk and teething biscuits right through to the consumption of sugary drinks, sweets and even some seemingly innocent looking shop bought cupboard staples. This has led to a dependence on sugar which has enormous health risks. Tooth decay being just the tip of the iceberg - almost 100 children in Ireland a week are hospitalized due to problems with their teeth alone.
Sugary drinks are the alcohol of a child.
How much sugar is too much sugar?
Under 2 – little or no sugar
4-8 yrs – 12g or 3 teaspoons
Adult – 25g or 6 teaspoons
What constitutes as a high sugar food VS a low sugar food when looking at labels?
Sugar - a lot is more than 10g per 100g and a little is less than 5g per 100g.
A sugar filled diet can lead to:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mood swings
- Along with affecting memory and personality
So what should our little ones be eating?
Try to avoid sugar entirely in the morning time. Offer alternatives to high sugary cereals like an omelette or some banana pancakes.
If that isn't an option for you offer low-sugar cereals such as: Weetabix, Ready Brek, Oatibix, Shredded Wheat or Porridge. Why not prepare some Baby Muesli and top with fresh fruit for a tasty and fun sugar free breakfast alternative.
Offer healthy homemade food with a savoury snack or a piece of fruit and water for lunch. Send your kids off happy with some warming Chicken Noodle Soup. Check out our lunch recipes for more delicious recipes to try out!
Our Mummy Cooks Food Flasks are great for increasing variety.
Only offer milk or water with dinner. We have many healthy and delicious baby and family friendly meals to choose from! They are all easy to adapt for your weaning baby too! It is so important to be aware of added sugar in sauces and pastes.
We recommend always cooking from scratch; batch cook tomato sauce, soups and other meals like Chili Con Carne so you always have them on hand. They are perfect to freeze in a Double Child Portion Pot from the Family Portion Set for a fuss free dinner any night of the week.
Check out our top tips on how to increase your child's water intake.