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Added sugars have become a staple in most people’s diets, and it has been reported that the majority of children eat too much sugar each day.
Studies have shown that the increased amounts of sugar in children’s diets are leading to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
To reduce the amount of sugar in your toddler’s diet, read all nutritional labels, remove junk food from the house, feed your child whole foods, and reduce the amount of sugar consumed through beverages.
Remove junk food from the house.
One way to limit the amount of sugar your toddler eats is to keep all junk food out of the house.
Your child won’t have access to them, so eventually they will be less likely to ask for them if they are not around and they don’t see them.
Designate a cheat day for your toddler, where they get treats they like.
This can be a weekend day, like a Saturday, or an after dinner treat.
Let your toddler have a treat on these days so they won’t feel completely deprived.
Get rid of all sugar beverages, cakes, sugar cereals, donuts, muffins, cookies, and candy from your house.
Also limit sugary items that seem like they are healthy, such as dried fruit and granola with added sugars and high fructose corn syrup.
Instead, replace all those foods with healthier options for your toddler.
Try unsweetened applesauce, fruit in natural juices with no added sugar or syrups, and animal crackers.
You should also keep fruit around.
Read all labels closely.
If you are trying to limit sugars, reading labels is a must.
Sugar is added to so many foods, even foods you wouldn’t suspect.
Plus, sugar comes in many different forms, such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, sucrose, and cane syrup.
Look for no-sugar-added foods, and read labels to check for sugar content and if it has been added.
Sugar is added to just about everything, from juice to dressings, cereal, and crackers to dried fruit. Even if you don’t think it has sugar, read the label.
For most products, you can find a brand that has the same item that hasn’t been filled with a bunch of unnecessary sugar.
Beware of labels that say “natural,” “organic,” or something similar.
They can still have added sugars, trans fat, and other unhealthy ingredients.
Avoid prepackaged food as often as possible.
It is extremely difficult to find prepackaged food that doesn’t contain sugar.
To help reduce the sugar in your family’s diet, make as much food at home as you can.
For example, pasta sauces sometimes contain high amounts of sugar.
Instead of buying prepackaged sauces, make your own from scratch where you don’t add any sugar.
You can also try making your own granola, fruit strips, and sauces.
Eliminate sugary drinks.
Beverages are one of the most common ways that people pack the sugar into their diet.
Soda, energy drinks, and juices are packed with sugars.
These sugary drinks have been found to increase the risk of childhood obesity.
Instead of these drinks, give your toddler water or low-fat milk.
You can add no-sugar added chocolate powder to milk to make a low-sugar version of chocolate milk.
Serve healthy snacks.
Replace your child’s sugary snacks with healthier options.
Your child will learn to eat the healthier snacks and won’t ask for the sugary junk food if they’ve never had it.
Even if they complain at first, eventually the new habit will form and they will get used to their new snacks.
Try healthy sweet snacks like fruit, yogurt with no or low amounts of sugar, and raisins with no sugar added.
Get your toddler to help you make trail mix without candy, marshmallows, or candied fruit.
Serve them natural peanut butter with no sugar or hydrogenated oils added.
Provide your child with snacks that are savory instead of sweet, like whole grain crackers, cut up vegetables, hummus, guacamole, salsa, cheese sticks and slices, slices of avocado, and air popped popcorn.
Limit the amount of fruit your child eats
Whole fruit is healthier, but too much can provide too much sugar.
To help make sure your child isn’t eating too much sugar from fruit, only feed your child one to two servings per day.
Go for fruits with the lowest sugar content, like berries, peaches, kiwis, and pears. Limit the amount of high sugar fruits, like grapes, pineapple, and super sweet apples.
A serving of fruit is a small apple, one cup of fruit, or a banana.
Bake treats at home.
You don’t have to eliminate cookies, cakes, or muffins from your child’s diet completely.
Instead, make cookies, cakes, and muffins from scratch.
This helps you remove the sugar content by substituting pureed fruit, honey, or skipping the sugar completely.
You won’t add unnecessary cups of sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or other chemically processed sugars to your homemade cookies.
Don’t buy prepackaged ready to bake cookies, or cake and muffin mixes.
Most brands still contain sugars, high fructose corn syrup, along with other unhealthy additives like trans fats.
Give your child juice rarely.
Most juices are full of added sugars and high fructose corn syrup.
Even no sugar added or 100% fruit juices provide a concentrated amount of sugar that can be too much for your child.
Give your child juice only occasionally, limiting it to around four ounces of no sugar added each day.
Try diluting the juice with water to reduce the sugar content.