2. Switch to healthier drinks
Swap out sugary drinks with water or milk (breast milk, formula or other milk, depending on the child’s age). Eliminate or limit sugary beverages like regular soda, flavored milks, Kool-Aid, fruit drinks, juice with less than 100% fruit, sports drinks, energy drinks and sweetened water or tea.
3. Ditch sugar during food prep
Prepare foods for your young child at home without adding sugar.
4. Be aware of the different names for sugar
Some packaged foods literally have “sweetened” in their name, such as sweetened applesauces or sweetened peaches. But sugar is not always so easy to spot. Often foods we don’t expect to contain added sugars do, like yogurts. Added sugars go by many different names, such as high-fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, cane sugar, corn sweetener, lactose, glucose, sucrose and maple syrup. So always check the ingredient list.
5. Be mindful of sugar lurking in packaged or store-made foods
If you offer your child packaged or store-prepared foods and beverages, such as dry cereal, fruit pouches or jars of baby food, they should contain little to no added sugars.
6. Try again and often
Offer children bitter foods like vegetables over and over. Young children need to be exposed to foods 30 or so times before they learn to like them!
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As a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist who has counseled families – but also as a mother to three children – I have learned that reducing added sugar is not as easy as we professionals often make it seem. In fact, it may be infeasible for many people because of limited access to or the higher price of healthy foods. Some people have pressing needs that may take priority over a healthful diet. And fast-food restaurants and convenience stores seem to be everywhere you look.
So don’t try to make all of these changes with your child at once. Choose one that seems most feasible, and try that first. Gradually add another. Remember that falling off a healthy habit is normal. The important thing is getting back on the horse and trying again.
Lisa Bodnar, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences. This article is part of a series examining sugar’s effects on human health and culture. To see all articles on this series, click here.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.