Did you know that young people eat almost three times more sugar than their recommended daily amount? Shocking isn’t it. Eating too much sugar is a cause of concern as it can lead to unhealthy weight gain and diseases in later life.
Sugar isn’t the only problem. Children are eating many unhealthy snacks, giving them a quarter of the daily limit for saturated fats. Saturated fat can clog arteries, resulting in high cholesterol and increase the likely hood of heart disease. Salt is another problem. Most of the salt children eat is found in their food, before any additional salt is added.
Healthy Food Swaps for Young People
There are lots of useful resources that can help you to encourage young people to make sensible choices. The NHS is a great resource and offers lots of ideas for healthy food swaps. Here is just a handful, to get you started:
- Many fizzy drinks contain a huge amount of sugar. Obviously replacing fizzy drinks with water is the ideal swap to make. You might find this isn’t quite the same, so a great option is to try 100% fruit juice with no added sugar to some soda water.
- Stop using whole milk (whole milk is a must for children under the age of 2).
- Use low-fat spreads instead of butter and reduced fat cheese.
- Grill food rather than frying food.
- Stop eating white bread and start using wholegrain bread.
- Don’t put table salt on the table, most food contains salt already.
- Make your own popcorn and serve unsalted nuts as snacks.
- Remember to try and eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. One excellent tip for adding fruit is to use it to sweeten cereals as a replacement for sugar.
Start reading the labels of the food you’re buying. Food labels give out a lot of information about how much fat, sugar, salt, protein and how many calories the food contains. Be sure to check the weight listed on the label, many show 100g when the food actually weighs a lot more. Compare the actual weight to the food label and do the math, you might find the ‘healthy’ snack is only healthy if you have a small portion. Learn more about reading labels, here.