It can be hard to constantly watch what your kids eat and manage their nutrition, but one easy trick can help you: limit the amount of added sugars they consume. We know it’s a challenge to find products your kids want to eat without added sugar, but the recommendations from our Publix dietitians can help. Try out these tips to help your kiddos get the food they want, balanced with the nutrition they need.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much Sugar?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans say added sugars need to be limited to less than 10% of the calories consumed per day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends further reducing added sugar intake for children to no more than 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day. For reference, 1 teaspoon equals 4 grams of sugar.

Make sure to check the claims on the packaging for sugar per serving. Here’s how the amounts break down, according to various claims.

  • Sugar free = less than 0.5 grams of sugar
  • Reduced sugar = at least 25% less sugar than the regular version of the product
  • No sugar added or without added sugar = no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient is added to the item during processing

Reducing Sugar in Beverages, Snacks and Meals

Beverages: When thinking about added sugars for kids, start with beverages since a large percentage of daily sugar is taken up with soda, fruit juice and energy drinks. Instead of those options, try sticking with milk and water as the main beverages your child consumes. Look for juice with no added sugars or fruit juice blends made without added sugars, such as GreenWise Organic Juice Pouches.

Snacks: A lot of popular prepackaged snacks that are staples for children like granola bars or yogurt may seem healthy but can have a lot of added sugar. An easy way to check for snacks with lower added sugar is to look for our Better Choice shelf tags.

Offer fresh fruits or make a snack mix together, incorporating things like unsweetened whole-grain cereal, dried fruit and unsalted nuts. If you’d like to try making a snack, reduce the amount of fats like butter or shortening by substituting unsweetened applesauce or prune puree for half the amount of fat. Such changes will also bring out the natural sweetness. Our recipe for Banana Nut Muffin Tops uses bananas and dates to add yummy sweetness.

Meals: Having condiments with meals isn’t abnormal for kids, but there are a lot of added sugars in popular sauces. When picking up condiments, compare labels and look for the Better Choice shelf tag, or try substituting sauce with salsa or hummus.

Cooking meals that have natural sugars and sweetness is another way to cut down on added sugars in meals. Our Supreme Meatball Skewers with Italian Gravy is a great recipe to follow because the veggies used are naturally sweet and don’t need additional sauces to bring out the flavor.

Alt="meatball skewers with onions and peppers"

Jackie J.

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Jackie J. became a Publix associate in 2017 after deciding to take her love of food to the next level. She began working with the Social Media team at that time and she immediately fell in love with life at Publix. In her spare time, she bakes to relax and creates yummy morsels for friends and family to munch on. When she isn’t working, you can probably find her playing with her cat and dog (Nila and Oreo), at a theme park or watching a Harry Potter Movie Marathon.

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