To ask for help in reducing the sugar intake of my child?(81 Posts)
A bit of background, toddler is dairy free, hates water and gets constipated easily. This is her typical days diet, I think she eats too much sugar and I need ideas on how to reduce it!
Breakfast: full sugar blackcurrant high juice, wholemeal toast with dairy free spread and a teaspoon of jam
Snack; vanilla soya milk, banana, Apple, raisins
Lunch: ham sandwich on wholemeal bread with dairy free spread, cucumber, peppers, olives, innocent fruit tube, blackcurrant high juice
Snack: chocolate soya milk, rich tea biscuit
Dinner: sausage, mash, peas, satsuma, blackcurrant high juice
Is innocent fruit tube a yogurt or a fruit puree?
First of all I would swap the snacks, give her the cucumber peppers olives as a snack and the fruit with her meal. She doesn't need biscuits and chocolate milk every day, will she not drink warm plain milk?
It's not terrible, apart from the juice, but I have a constipated toddler too so I get it. I water down her milk as she will drink loads of that. Could you try and flavour her water a more natural way, real fruit sitting in water in a jug in the fridge maybe? Or sugar free squash but some people feel sweetners come with their own problems.
Could she eat crackers or rice cakes with raw veg for snack instead of so much fruit? The raisins, banana and Apple is a lot of sugar.
Not sure what to suggest on the drink as obviously water would be preferable to sugary squash. Is there a low sugar version of squash instead? Smoothies might be better for her from a vitamin point of view although doesn't really help the sugar issue
Yes that is high sugar.
It's easy to reduce. Offer non dairy milk alternatives but not flavours, chocolate milk is swimming in sugar. Have you tried coconut milk, oat milks, hemp milk?
Swap the jam on toast for nut butters or houmous, or do eggs and beans, or porridge made with an alternative milk.
All the fruit snacks are good but high in natural sugars and raisens not great for teeth every day. Can you swap half for raw veg like carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper, baby corn. A snack of apple and carrot would be better than 2 fruits and raisens.
Swap the biscuit every day for bread sticks or similar half the week.
Make the juice as weak as possible. Offer water inbetween in a new fancy sports bottle she likes. Might start drinking some
Also a larger breakfast of porridge or eggs or pancakes or whatever will mean she doesn't need so many snacks every day.
Can you make lunch more substantial also so she doesn't always need so many afternoon snacks? Maybe add some chunky soup with the sandwich? So she doesn't need sandwich and lots of snacky things with it
snozberry the innocent tube is fruit purée and looks like a tube yogurt so she can be like her older sister. I could stop giving her older sister tube yogurts but I worry about her older sisters calcium as she will not drink milk.
The flavoured soya milks are the only way she will drink milk, she needs two cups a day or she will be put on calcium supplements.
Juice is the only way I can get her to drink to avoid the constipation.
This is a nightmare isn't it?!
It would be hard to go completely sugar free and I don't think that's a good idea for a toddler anyway. Sugar is a form of carbohydrate and it's in more stuff than you think, including bread, fruit and some vegetables.
Her diet doesn't sound too bad to be honest. But I would cut out raisins which are high in sugar and give water instead of juice. The innocent smoothies are also quite high in sugar.
The fancy sports bottle idea is a good one, we have a ridiculous array of bottles and cups and crazy straws as a novelty cup will sometimes encourage DD to drink.
Could you not just 'flavour' the water with a couple of drops of juice if she won't drink plain water?
artandco thank you some good ideas. I could try some of the other milks to see if she will take those any better. She likes crackers but hates nut butters but may eat them with ham on. I've started watering the cordial down a lot but a good idea to leave some water out in the off chance she might drink it!
Have you had a try at the food colouring trick? Just a drop of food dye in plain water?
artandco I will give that a try with larger meals thank you
snozberry I have never heard of that, great idea thank you!
Personally, i have had constipated kids and so I give them no added sugar squash as their main drink. There's no evidence it is harmful in general, and if they are drinking it regularly full sugar squash is very risky in terms of tooth decay.
Also I have found as they moved onto preschool/school my kids became much more reasonable about drinking water.
Will she drink a herbal tea? Something like a mint tea that's sugar free and caffeine tea? Could replace one drink maybe
Have you tried the alpro +1 soya milk with the giraffe on the carton? My ds is dairy free too and he loves that, it says low in suagrs on the carton but not sure how that compares to the flavoured soya milks. I also give him unsweetened soya milk with his snack, he enjoys it with peanut butter on oat cakes, I think because he is not expecting sweet tastes. Would she eat a vegetable puree in a squeezy pouch rather than a innocent smoothie tube? Her sister could have the yoghurt pouches to be the same. For snacks I would offer vegetables or oat cakes with peanut butter etc instead of fruit. Water away from the table is the rule in our house. My ds has a special water cup (non spill with a straw) which he can have between meals and snacks.
Oh yes, and he has chamomile tea as a 'treat' after dinner (anything to encourage sleep in this household!)
And how about vegetable juice instead of squash? E.g. Carrot juice?
Re the drinks.. Reduce the ratio of juice to water gradually until it is mostly water. Your DD will drink water once she is used to it.
I think we make a rod for our own backs by starting with juice in the first place.
She would eat anything in a pouch I think so I will try the vegetable purée ones! Some good ideas thank you!
Can you water her juice down a bit more than normal and mix the flavoured milk with normal soya milk until she just has soya milk? I have done this with my ds. I think without the sugary juice and milk the rest would be fine tbh.
Have you tried a splash of pure fruit juice in water instead of the squash? If you give it with fizzy water my kids love that (and think it's a treat). Also, you can buy empty pouches and either put fruit/veg (or a mix of fruit and veg) puree in or you can make your own smoothies with unsweetened non-dairy milk and a banana or a few dates. It's not just the amount of sugar that's important, it's where it comes from so a smoothie made with a fresh banana is much better than a banana flavoured smoothie that is sweetened with pure sugar even if the total sugars actually were the same amount (which they wouldn't be because processed food always contains more sugar than necessary cos they want to keep you coming back for more!). Even dried fruit, which is high in sugar, contains other things which are good for them (vitamins, minerals etc) rather than pure sugar which contains no nutrients. You're definitely doing the right thing staying off the sweeteners. Another thing that might help is trying different carbs rather than just bread as bread can be quite high in sugar (even wholegrain) and more carbs make me want more carbs (i.e. sugar) so it's a vicious circle (but I know some people won't agree with me on that one).
Now what's your secret to getting a toddler to eat peppers and olives??
I will try the pure fruit juice, we did used to use that until my oldest said it tasted like water so I changed to squash but I could still keep the little one on fruit juice.
By the way I have no idea how I got dd to eat peppers and olives, I'm sorry!
I'd try slowly watering down the squash and possibly switching to a no sugar one. I'd suggest changing flavours at the same time as she's bound to reject a blackcurrant one as it won't taste the same!
TBH it doesn't look that bad at all. I don't give DD hot chocolate every day, maybe a once or twice a week treat, so I'd try just warm milk instead for some days (maybe reducing the chocolate until it's just milk).
Bread sticks or crackers could be a nice alternative to all the fruit too. I'd also mix up the toast for breakfast with high-fibre cereal. I don't like our DD having too much bread.
For the liquid, my toddler DC will eat a lot of soul. Refused at first but really enthusiastic now.
Twinning liquorice tea is really sweet so she might like that. Or drops of vanilla essence.
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