Posted: Mon 12th Jan 2015

New drive to cut amount of sugar children in Wales eat and drink

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Jan 12th, 2015

  • A new drive to help families across Wales cut back on the amount of sugar they eat each week has been launched today.
  • The latest figures show 40% of seven to 11-year-olds in Wales are obese or overweight.

The Change4Life Sugar Swap campaign is aimed at families with children aged four to 11 and offers tips on how to replace sugary foods with healthier options. These include swapping ice cream with sugar free jelly or yogurt, or cakes with wholemeal biscuits.

Families can sign-up for a free Sugar Swaps pack to help them get started and get advice on how to change their eating habits for the better.

Medical advice is that no more than 10% of a person’s daily calorie intake should by made up of sugar, which is the equivalent of 11 to 14 level teaspoons of sugar a day. A can of fizzy drink can contain nine teaspoons of sugar, with up to 40 teaspoons in a two-litre bottle.[pullquote cite=”Dr Ruth Hussey” type=”left, right”]Too much sugar can mean our children facing a life of bad health, from obesity, type 2 diabetes through to dental problems..[/pullquote]

Sugar consumption among many people is currently too high, with figures showing:

  • Children aged four to 10-years-old are the second biggest consumers of sugar, getting 14.7% of their energy from sugar
  • Children aged 11 to 18 get 15.4% of their energy from sugar and adults 11.5%.

For younger children, soft drinks, confectionery and fruit juice are the major sources of sugar in the diet.
Chief Medical Officer for Wales Dr Ruth Hussey said:

“People across Wales are eating too much sugar. It’s surprising how much sugar there is in some of the food and drink we give our children and these eating habits can have a huge impact on their health.

“From cereal in the morning through to puddings in the evening, not to mention the sugary drinks and snacks, it all adds up. With the Sugar Swaps campaign we are helping families take small steps to make a huge difference to the lives of their children.”

Try a few easy steps to cut down on sugar by swapping it for a healthier alternative:

The Breakfast Swap

  • Swap sugary cereal for plain cereal
  • Try sliced bananas instead of sugary spread and don’t forget old favourites such as egg and soldiers!
  • Try to add some fruit to your porridge instead of sugar

Check out our breakfast recipes for healthy breakfast ideas.

If you can’t ditch the jam or honey, try to spread it thinly!

The Drink Swap

  • Swap sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milk or diluted unsweetened fruit juice 

If you choose to give your children fruit juice or squash, try to limit this to meal times to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Water’s always a cool and refreshing drink – and it’s so easy! Try keeping a jug of water in the fridge so it’s always on hand. Add a slice of lemon or orange to make it even tastier.

If you take sugar in tea or coffee, try cutting down slowly, after a while you won’t miss it!

Try some new flavours with herbal teas. Or make your own with hot water and a slice of lemon or ginger.

The After School Snack Swap

  •  Swap sugary snacks for healthier snacks

Things like cakes, pastries, doughnuts and chocolate can be very high in sugar, try swapping these for:

  • unsalted, unroasted nuts
  • unsalted rice cakes
  • low-fat yogurt
  • toast
  • bread sticks
  • cut up vegetables such as carrots or cucumber – you could add dips such as humous, yogurt or guacamole.  Try making your own guacamole by mashing up an avocado and adding a bit of lime juice – delicious!

The Pudding Swap

  • Swap sugary puds for healthier puds

Switch to:

  • Low-fat yogurt, you can freeze this too as an alternative to ice cream!
  • Fruit
    • Fresh – look out for fruit in season, it can be cheaper
    • Canned – try peach, pear, or pineapple slices in their own juice
    • Dried – have a small handful of cranberries or raisins, or a couple of dried apricots / pears.
    • Smoothie – you can make your own by blending some fresh or frozen fruit, lower fat milk / yoghurt and some 100% unsweetened fruit juice.
  •  Sugar-free jelly
  •  Lower fat rice pudding

If you like to have a pudding when you’re eating out, you could always try sharing one. One pudding, two spoons!

Make sure that your kids’ portions of puddings are ‘me size’. Their portions should be smaller than an adult’s.

Can I give my kids fruit? I know it contains sugar, so is it bad for them?

Although fruit does contain sugar,  it’s is a healthier choice because it also contains fibre, vitamins and minerals. Giving them fruit is also a great way to encourage them to eat their 5 A DAY.

The key to success – get organised and check the labels!

  • Make a shopping list of the things you need for your sugar swaps!
  • When shopping, compare food labels and switch to the one that’s marked lower in sugar or sugar free. Some packaging uses a traffic light system, which makes it even easier to choose food that is lower in sugar. Go for more ‘greens’ and ‘ambers’ and fewer ‘reds’ in your shopping basket.



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