How to Reduce Your Child’s Sugar Intake this Christmas

Christmas is the time for candy canes, lollies and gingerbread houses. In fact, Christmas and sweets are so interlinked many parents find it hard to keep track of their child’s sugar intake over the holidays.

According to dieticians, the biggest issue for children who eat too much sugar is excess kilojoules. Not only is overindulgence in sugar bad for kid’s weight and overall health, it can also lead to other issues such as hyperactivity and sleep problems.

It is in everyone’s best interests to minimise sugar intake during the holidays, but this is easier said than done. These tips will help you reduce your child’s sugar while still allowing them to enjoy the silly season.

  • Sweets in Moderation 

You don’t want to become the Grinch and deny treats altogether this Christmas. Completely cutting out sweets is not the answer. This will only make kids desire them more and they may go behind your back for their sugar fix, creating unhealthy habits. The goal is moderation. Offer smaller treats and don’t give kids unlimited access to the snack cupboard. By letting kids have some sweets without overindulging, you’ll teach them about self-control. 

  • Drink More Water 

Many of the empty kilojoules consumed at Christmas come from unhealthy soft drinks. Drinking more water will quench children’s thirst and also help them feel fuller. You can make water appealing by jazzing it up with fruit, cucumbers, lemons and limes. Get kids involved in making fun-shaped ice-cubes and freezing berries to add to water. Colourful cups and reusable straws will help kids feel enthusiastic about drinking water. 

  • Introduce Sugar Substitutes 

You can remove a lot of sugar from kid’s diets over Christmas by reducing the sugar content in recipes or by using sugar substitutes. For example, when making Christmas cookies, sugar content can often be cut by up to half. You can also use honey, maple syrup or date syrup in place of sugar. Other sugar substitutes when making muffins and cakes include cinnamon, applesauce and nutmeg. 

  • Plan Outdoor Activities

To take the focus off food this Christmas, plan fun activities that get kids into the great outdoors and away from the table and their devices. Take a walk together as a family to view the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood. It’s a perfect time of year for swimming, beach cricket and volleyball. Gifts that encourage kids to get outside and get moving, rather than sitting on the couch are ideal for reducing sugar consumption and burning off kilojoules. 

  • Provide Healthy Snacks.

One of the most tried-and-true ways to reduce sugar intake is by providing healthy snacks for kids to munch on. Buy ready-to-eat vegetables in snack sizes and keep cottage cheese and hummus handy for dips. Make healthy Christmas treats such as watermelon Christmas trees and banana snowmen to entice children to eat well. There are many easy snack ideas online for Christmas that you can make together. Not only is this fun for kids, but it also encourages them to think about healthy eating. 

Plan ahead to reduce your child’s sugar intake this Christmas.