Doctor's office lollipops and after-school cookies may be putting your child way over their recommended sugar intake on a daily basis, reports CNN. US dietary guidelines recommend limiting added sugars to 10% of daily caloric intake. For an active four to eight year old, that's about 33 grams per day, which is less sugar than one can of soda contains. While putting a cap on your child's sweet-tooth can be difficult, it's important to keep an eye on this sugary situation, which could lead to weight gain and health conditions like type 2 diabetes. Fairly painless ways to limit added sugars in your home include keeping an eye on ingredient labels for hidden sugars and replacing sugar-heavy snacks and treats with sugar-free ones. Teaching your child to make smart sugar choices can also help. Kathy Isoldi, a registered dietitian nutritionist and associate professor of nutrition at Long Island University, Post, explains how:
- Don't restrict sweets completely. Depriving your child of sweets could lead them to overindulge whenever they have the chance. Instead, provide them with a balanced diet so they can learn to self-regulate when eating treats and to enjoy healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Stick to one treat per day. Some limitations, such as only allowing dessert after dinner, are a good thing. But be sure to give them the freedom to choose what they'd like and in what quantity, which can help them learn their own limits and may help avoid eating issues down the road. If you're worried they'll overdo it, start small. For example, offer them one cookie, but give them another if they ask.