5 Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake

If you're trying to cut your kids' intake start slowly and don't make a big deal about it. These strategies will help.

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Do the Math


To figure out the number of calories that come from sugar in a serving of your favorite food, check the nutrition label. Take the number of grams of sugar in a single serving and multiply it by 4 (there are 4 calories in every gram). For instance, if a product has 15 sugar grams that means 60 calories are from sugar alone.

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Offer Smart Snacks


Most kids spend much of the day trolling for something to eat. Aim to provide options that will override cravings for sweets. Unprocessed foods like peanut butter and whole-grain crackers are best, but also try fun, prepacked freeze-dried fruit, trail mix, pineapple slices, and squeezable applesauce.

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Learn the Names


With a nod to Shakespeare, just as a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, sugar, no matter what you call it—maltose, sucrose, high fructose corn syrup, molasses, cane sugar, corn sweetener, raw sugar, syrup, honey, or fruit juice concentrate—is still sugar.

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Focus on Fruit


It's okay to get your sugar from fruit because fresh produce also has lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. For dessert, try sliced mango, frozen banana slices, and grapes, or papaya drizzled with vanilla yogurt.

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Rethink Drinks


Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are major culprits in over-the-top sugar consumption. Instead, try mixing a shot of flavorful juice with seltzer. There are also several new lower-sugar fruit-juice-blend products like Trop 50. And don't forget milk!

Originally published in the July 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.