1. Eat Sweets in Moderation
You’ll risk becoming The Grinch if you completely ban sweets at Christmas. Instead, let the kids have small portions of their favourite treats like fruit cake and gingerbread, so they don’t feel like they are missing out on the fun.
2. Drink More Water
To reduce their sugar intake, ensure your children become good water drinkers. If your kids are satiated with water, they’ll be less likely to go for sodas.
3. Look For the ‘Healthier Choice’ Symbol On Drinks
Packet and canned drinks with the Health Promotion Board’s Healthier Choice (Lower in Sugar) logo will be much better for junior.
4. Use Sugar Substitutes For Baking
Try applesauce, cinnamon and nutmeg in muffins and cakes instead of sugar.
5. Swap Milkshakes For Smoothies
It may be fun to make your own Butterbeer milkshake for the kids this Christmas, but most recipes are full of refined sugar. Swop full cream milk for almond milk, cream for bananas, and dates for white sugar to make a healthier Butterbeer smoothie instead.
One 50 g chocolate bar has almost eight teaspoons of sugar, while a fun-sized bar has three teaspoons. Get smaller-sized candy bars for the little ones, so they don’t overindulge.
7. Go For Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has more antioxidants, and is contains less sugar than milk or white chocolate. Look for dark chocolate with 70 per cent or more cocoa.
8. Plan Activities Beyond Eating
Kids tend to snack more when they’re idle. Don’t let them sit around stuffing themselves with Christmas goodies; spend time at the park or playground, not just at the mall where sugary snacks are everywhere.
9. Have Healthy Snacks At Home, Too
Make sure you have more in your house than just candy canes and cookies to munch on. Buying vegetables in ready-to-eat snack portions can encourage kids to eat healthy snacks. Also, keep a tub of cottage cheese or hummus on hand.
10. Teach Them That Christmas Is Not Just About Food
While delicious desserts are a big part of Yuletide festivities, they shouldn’t be the only focus at this time of year.
Christmas is a meaningful season, where Christians celebrate the birth of Christ and even non-Christians share in the spirit of joy and giving. The holiday is a chance to spend time with family, be generous to others, and spread cheer to one and all. Remind your kids that while they may enjoy Christmas treats, there are more important ways to commemorate the season.
Have a merry – and less sugary – Christmas!
Text: Jane Worthington, Australian Women’s Weekly, Additional Reporting by Lisa Twang
Photos: 123RF, Health Promotion Board