5 simple ways to reduce your child’s sugar intake

A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages has been proposed to come into effect from April 2017. Try these simple ways to start reducing your child’s sugar intake and limit the strain the sugar tax will have on your wallet.


In his budget speech this year, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced plans of a sugar tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) to come into effect from April 2017.

One of the proposed tax’s purposes is to try to curb rising obesity rates, by highlighting that calorie intake isn’t just about what we eat, but also what we drink. It also aims to change the current reality of unhealthy drinks being cheap in South Africa and therefore more accessible to the majority of the country’s population.

ALSO SEE: These foods make your kids fat, say researchers

South Africa has the highest obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa

South Africa has the highest overweight and obesity rate in sub-Saharan Africa, according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, with up to 70% of women and a third of men being classified as overweight or obese.

Obesity isn’t only an adult problem. One in four girls and one in five boys between the ages of two and 14 are overweight or obese.

Why too much sugar is bad for kids

High sugar intake during childhood leads to dental cavities, obesity and poor nutrition. While sugary foods provide an abundance of calories, they can be nutrient-poor. The eating habits established in childhood can easily last a lifetime, putting your child at risk to serious diseases such as diabetes in the long run.

ALSO SEE: 5 food myths that could be making your child obese

Start reducing your child’s sugar intake by implementing these easy steps:

As awareness of the dangers of consuming too much sugar grows, and the introduction of the sugar tax planned in seven months’ time, CEO of Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals, Karen McCann suggests the following tips to reduce your child’s sugar intake:

Swop the sugar-sweetened beverages

Sugar-laden drinks include fizzy cold drinks, cordials, flavoured milks and fruit juices, which can be replaced with unsweetened options.  Promote water as the go-to drink for satisfying thirst.

ALSO SEE: 5 nutritional benefits of milk for kids

Set a specific day or mealtime for dessert

Schedule dessert as a sweet treat once a week, such as Sunday lunch. This helps to model moderation when it comes to yummy but high sugar foods. Fruit can be served as a dessert with other meals during the week.

Go 50/50 with some sugar favourites

Going “halfsies” helps to dilute and wean a sweet tooth. Offer half a serving of plain yoghurt with half a serving of flavoured yoghurt, or half a serving of unsweetened cereal with half a serving of a sweetened variety, and most importantly, mix half fruit juice with half water.

ALSO SEE: 6 healthy breakfast ideas for kids

Make fresh fruit and veg the first-choice for snacking

Make sure you have a variety of fruits and veggies at home that kids can snack on. Carrot and cucumber sticks, cocktail tomatoes and snap peas make for healthy snacks, as well as fresh and frozen fruit options.

Lead by example

The easiest way to get your child to make healthy eating choices happily is to let them witness you making good decisions for yourself.

ALSO SEE: How to encourage good eating habits in your kids



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