Sugar is everywhere in the news right now isn’t it? The sugar tax is finally upon and although my professional head is telling me this could help a little, I’m not sure it really will.
We all need to cut down on sugar; goes without saying but I am not convinced it is solely to blame for the obesity crisis. But that’s another, massive post in itself.
I know my eldest has too much sugar and I hate to admit it. It’s worse, given my profession.
As a dietitian and Mum I am always faced with trying to get my daughter to eat healthily, struggling with the fact that she is quite fussy and also struggling with the fact that she doesn’t really like fruit. I’m lucky if I can make her eat some melon now and then but that’s my lot.
My daughter is 4 years old and she should only be having 4 cubes of added sugar a day; that is 19 grams. Given that a portion of some breakfast cereals have more sugar in them than that; you start to realise how little added sugars we should be having. A 30g bowl of Coco Pops is 9g. Fruit and milk sugars are not included in this but this doesn’t massively help me, as she isn’t as fruit bat, as mentioned.
I’ve written posts before on what healthy snacks I try to get my daughter to eat with nuts, Greek yoghurt and lower sugar cereals being my usual go tos but there are so many other factors that get in the way of this.
Time, energy, it not always being me looking after her and peer pressure. How many of you have watched your child watch another child being given something you don’t want them to have and then they get offered some to? How can you say no with an expectant child staring up at your, their eyes full of sugary excitement. Believe me, I have said no sometimes but I know people think I’m harsh and worry too much.
Then there are parties where it is processed rubbish central. One party here and there is fine of course, but two a weekend starts to make a one off become an everyday occurrence.
My husband admits he doesn’t always know what snacks to offer her, family members give her treats and often don’t realise themselves how the sugar in a couple of things mounts up. I think we ALL don’t actually release how much added sugar is in some of the foods we eat. The obvious sources like fizzy drinks, gummy sweets and juices she rarely has but I know that the jam on toast, plus blueberry wheats plus a bit of Malt Loaf; the sugar is adding up.
It REALLY isn’t easy sometimes. You’re probably saying to yourselves, just don’t buy these foods and yes this is definitely something I’m working on with the other half. If he is sneaking Malf Loaf, you can guarantee a little bird will be after some too.
It doesn’t also help that she is like a dog with a bone sometimes, until she gets what she wants. She doesn’t get around me much but when hubby has her after school and he has to work, sometimes he ends up caving just to shut her up. Not ideal, we both know.
Something went off in my brain this weekend and I realised we needed to really make a conscious effort with her, without it being a big deal. I talk to her about balance and healthy eating and she seems to understand, this can make it easier to make small changes.
So we are doing it. I’m going to sit down with her an write an allowed snack list on the fridge, so she knows what she can ask for. This will include nuts, Greek yoghurt, cheese, lower sugar cereal like low sugar Cheerios or Weetabix, a glass of milk or a slice of granary toast and peanut butter.
Hubby and I need to make sure we try and eat the same around her, as she will always want what we have. You have to lead by example with kids no matter how much you fancy a bite of chocolate.
I’m giving up diet fizzy drinks (which I do have now and then) to hope she isn’t tempted at home by them and possibly the sugary versions.
As a dietitian and Mum, I feel that pressure everyday to ensure my girls eat healthily and I know something likely all parents feel in this day and age. Nutrition is everywhere. Different messages are everywhere but the bottom line is we do need to generally cut down on sugar and I owe it to my daughters to try my hardest for them.