Looking for ways to reduce sugar from your child’s diet (painlessly)? Use these five simple tricks that keep the flavor but cut the sugar.
Most kids (including mine) love sugar. But most of them get way too much. Added sugar, the kind put in by manufacturers, comes from the usual suspects like soda, candy, and desserts. But plenty of staples in children’s diets provide added sugar too–even seemingly healthy stuff like yogurt and whole grain cereal.
Why is reducing dietary sugar so important for kids?
Problem is, with so many foods and drinks containing added sugar, kids start expecting everything to be sweet. And when the sweet tooth is stoked by hyper-sugary stuff, more mildly-sweet foods like vegetables (and even unsweetened drinks like water) may start to lose their appeal.
So reducing the added sugar in your child’s diet makes sense, both for their health and their flavor preferences. You could buy unsweetened foods and drinks and sweeten them yourself (or just serve them plain). You could also take a gradual approach, which works well for kids who are devoted to their very favorites.
Balance the sweetness level yourself with this easy trick
One way to gradually reduce sweetness in the foods you serve at home is to go “halfsies”: Combine sweet foods and drinks with their unsweetened counterparts. You’ll significantly cut the total added sugar but preserve some of the familiar sweet taste. As your kids get used to a less sweet flavor, you can even transition to the unsweetened version completely (or sweeten by adding fruit or a touch of honey to foods like cereal and yogurt).
Here’s one I’ve been doing lately:
Ideas for Going Halfsies at Home
- Regular O’s (1/2 cup) + Honey Sweetened O’s (1/2 cup) = 1 tsp less sugar per bowl
- Plain Quick Oats (1/4 cup) + Half a Packet of Instant Flavored Oatmeal = 1.5 tsp less sugar per bowl
- Unsweetened Applesauce (1/4 cup) + Regular Applesauce (1/4 cup) = 1 tsp less sugar per serving
- Plain White Milk (1/2 cup) + Chocolate Milk (1/2 cup) = 1 teaspoon less sugar per glass
There are plenty of ways to use this sugar-slashing trick. Do you use this “halfsies” method? Tell me!
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