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Sugar swaps


Sugar swaps

It’s surprising how much sugar there is in some of the food and drink we give our kids.

Too much sugar means extra calories, which can cause fat to build up and could lead to heart disease, some cancers and type 2 diabetes.

Time for Sugar Swaps

Change 4 Life Wales want to support you and your family to start a healthier lifestyle by swapping sugar in your diet for healthier alternatives.

Try a few easy steps to cut down on sugar by swapping it for a healthier alternative:

The Breakfast Swap

  • Swap sugary cereal for plain cereal
  • Try sliced bananas instead of sugary spread and don’t forget old favourites such as egg and soldiers!
  • Try to add some fruit to your porridge instead of sugar

Check out our breakfast recipes for healthy breakfast ideas.

If you can’t ditch the jam or honey, try to spread it thinly!

The Drink Swap

  • Swap sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milk or diluted unsweetened fruit juice 

If you choose to give your children fruit juice or squash, try to limit this to meal times to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Water’s always a cool and refreshing drink – and it’s so easy! Try keeping a jug of water in the fridge so it’s always on hand. Add a slice of lemon or orange to make it even tastier.

If you take sugar in tea or coffee, try cutting down slowly, after a while you won’t miss it!

Try some new flavours with herbal teas. Or make your own with hot water and a slice of lemon or ginger.

The After School Snack Swap

  •  Swap sugary snacks for healthier snacks

Things like cakes, pastries, doughnuts and chocolate can be very high in sugar, try swapping these for:

  • unsalted, unroasted nuts
  • unsalted rice cakes
  • low-fat yogurt
  • toast
  • bread sticks
  • cut up vegetables such as carrots or cucumber - you could add dips such as humous, yogurt or guacamole.  Try making your own guacamole by mashing up an avocado and adding a bit of lime juice – delicious!

The Pudding Swap

  • Swap sugary puds for healthier puds

Switch to:

  • Low-fat yogurt, you can freeze this too as an alternative to ice cream!
  • Fruit
    • Fresh – look out for fruit in season, it can be cheaper
    • Canned – try peach, pear, or pineapple slices in their own juice
    • Dried – have a small handful of cranberries or raisins, or a couple of dried apricots / pears.
    • Smoothie – you can make your own by blending some fresh or frozen fruit, lower fat milk / yoghurt and some 100% unsweetened fruit juice.
  •  Sugar-free jelly
  •  Lower fat rice pudding

If you like to have a pudding when you’re eating out, you could always try sharing one. One pudding, two spoons!

Make sure that your kids’ portions of puddings are 'me size'. Their portions should be smaller than an adult's.

Can I give my kids fruit? I know it contains sugar, so is it bad for them?

Although fruit does contain sugar,  it’s is a healthier choice because it also contains fibre, vitamins and minerals. Giving them fruit is also a great way to encourage them to eat their 5 A DAY.

The key to success – get organised and check the labels!

  • Make a shopping list of the things you need for your sugar swaps!
  • When shopping, compare food labels and switch to the one that's marked lower in sugar or sugar free. Some packaging uses a traffic light system, which makes it even easier to choose food that is lower in sugar. Go for more 'greens' and 'ambers' and fewer 'reds' in your shopping basket.


Related links

Making a Change4Life doesn't need to be difficult.