A couple of months back the family took on a challenge with Change for life. They asked us to keep a detailed food diary for two weeks, after this time they had a look at what we ate and came up with some suggested food swaps. These swaps would be lower in sugar and help me as a busy mum to come up with suitable alternatives to foods that contain lots (or too much) sugar.
Keeping the diary was quite a challenge in itself as having older children means that they will buy themselves food at school or on the way home. I don’t have quite as much authority over their plates and diets as you do when children are younger. Nevertheless we all entered into the spirit of the challenge and recorded our foods.
When the time came we were given suggested swaps and I really focused on the breakfast cereals and the after school snack. Swapping the breakfast items was easy and we drank more fresh smoothies and had eggs more than cereals. The children loved these breakfasts and the only challenge is being ready early enough in the morning to prepare and make a cooked breakfast. It is easier for me now I’m not working and leaving the house at 7.30. However I think it would be more difficult for working mums.
The afterschool snacks were happily accepted and it was great to find alternatives that the children enjoyed. I hadn’t thought they would enjoy hummus as much as they did.
After the two week swap period we were free to eat again as we wished and see what stayed and what didn’t. For us breakfast is now a much better and less sugary affair. Although at the weekends I do let them have a choice of whatever they want. We are also eating more sugar free jelly for a pudding because I realised the children were eating too much cake.
Why we did it.
Each January Public Health England have a Change4Life campaign and this years is to encourage a balanced diet and eat less sugar. The campaign aims to encourage parents to acknowledge how much sugar is in their children’s diets and reduce it.
In recognising these daily difficulties, the campaign provides support, encouragement and practical advice to help families make simple Sugar Swaps at key occasions in the day such as breakfast, puddings, drinks and after school snacks.
Throughout the campaign, families can register for their free Sugar Swaps packs, which they will receive through the post. The packs are filled with hints, tips, recipe suggestions and money off vouchers. You can sign up to the Change4Life via this link:
As I said we have kept up some of the swaps and I am very mindful of how much hidden sugar the children are eating. It is difficult with older children as I can see through ParentPay that my children have bought sweet treats and cakes at school. However I also know just how much sport and excercise my children do and so I don’t worry from a weight angle but i do want them to be healthy and make good choices. it has enabled us as a family to have conversations about what we eat and I know that i don’t always lead by example which is something I need to change about myself.
Disclosure: This post is in association with Change4life and Netmums.