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"Cut back my kids sugar intake for a week? Challenge accepted."

It was shortly after a few days of heavy sugar intake (due to Halloween and the school Fun Fair) that I announced to the children my plan to cut their sugar intake for a week.

Philip, 11, said, “Mum, what the hell” (and spent the next 15 minutes in his room for using the word “hell” which I have specifically asked him to stop doing), Caterina, six, hit her head with the palm of her hand and said, “Oh man” and Giovanni, seven said, “Wait, what?”

I’ll admit it. I didn’t think for one second that this was going to be easy.

Thankfully, I’ve become pretty good at staying a few steps ahead of my savvy children without them noticing I’ve been phasing out sugary foods from our home. It has been timed to coincide with the end of the Halloween and the Fun Fair loot.

The night before I announced we’d be limiting our sugar intake, I stocked up on healthier snacks like popcorn, tuna, cheese sticks, pretzels, fruit, vegetables sticks, as well as some of the new Daily Balance containing 50% less sugar than regular Daily Juice Orange.

Caterina gave it the thumbs up. Image: Supplied.

I’d been asked to try Daily Balance, from makers of Daily Juice, and thought now was as good a time as any. The kids like orange and apple juice but we’ve had to limit their intake recently by having only the best quality drinks we can find and sticking to one serve per day. My children are more than capable of guzzling a couple of litres a day, particularly when it’s really hot. But at the end of the day the less sugar, the better.

Daily Balance is a good option as combines the goodness from juice with water to keep them hydrated. It also contains the natural sweetener, Stevia, so it still has a great sweet taste that I knew my kids would be happy with.

The week started off quite well with Philip and Caterina polishing off toasted bacon sandwiches for the first two days and Giovanni having his usual toasted cheese sandwich. Then news of the World Health Organisation’s warning about processed meats, such as bacon, contributing to cancer broke, so Philip and Caterina switched to eating dinner leftovers for breakfast instead.

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Bye bye bacon. Still sad about that.

I packed their school lunches, giving the little chocolate treats I normally gave them with their sandwiches a miss. In its place, I added a frozen bottle of Daily Balance. Being the clever mum that I am, I knew this would not only be a healthier treat in their lunchbox, it would also keep their sandwiches cool

Keeping the sandwiches cool. Image: Supplied.

After school they usually help themselves to snacks and hardly noticed the absence of sugary foods because I had stocked up with plenty of other foods they like. Dinner went well because we’ve never been one of those families who have dessert every night after dinner. They did miss their occasional late night ice cream or ice block but whinged about it way less than I anticipated.

However, they were also counting down the days.

“How many sleeps until you can buy chocolate Mum?”

“When can we get icy poles again?”

But I found it was when we ventured out of the house that they protested the most.

Have you ever noticed how much junk food has pride-of-place in any location children may frequent? There’s absolutely no balance. I’m talking about your local indoor sports centre (red frogs, chocolate bars, slushies, ice creams, lollipops), the supermarket checkout (impulse buy chocolate bars, sugary mints and chewing gums , the service station (lollies, biscuits, donuts, those strange lollipops that look like feet that you dip into the sherbert), vending machines, the movies, everywhere.

As soon as the kids spotted their favourite sugary foods and I reminded them of our plan to cut back that week, they went nuts. They kicked up such a fuss and I had to remind them that it wasn’t forever, it was just one week.

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cutting kids sugar intake
" Have I accidentally raised a trio of sugar addicts?" Image: Supplied.

Wait a minute. Have I accidentally raised a trio of sugar addicts? No, I can’t have. It sounds like we have junk food every day but we don’t. They were just missing it. It can be so hard for parents to have to be the sugar police at every turn. It gets quite exhausting.

They survived, grumpily. If any of them had been invited to a birthday party during that week we never would have made it. I was determined to see the week through and made sure it was on one of our incredibly rare no-birthday-parties-weeks.

I knew re-entry into the real world would be the most difficult part. Deprived of their beloved fun-size chocolate bars, biscuits and ice cream, I was very worried they’d eat too much all at once leaving me with a family of binge eaters. I started by letting them choose an ice cream the next time I bought petrol and then we made fairy bread one day after school. Easy does it, balance is the key.

Homeostasis had been restored.

But the one thing that didn’t change, was their choice of drink - they happened to love the taste and I love the fact that it’s lower in sugar than your stock standard juice off the shelf.

It’ll remain a staple in our fridge. Image supplied.

So the next time you are shopping for something refreshing, remember to look for Daily Balance in the cold section of your supermarket. It’s a good alternative to juice but still contains 100% of your daily vitamin C needs and a serve of fruit, which can occasionally contribute to your daily fruit serves, although whole fruit is best. You can pack the single serve bottles in with their school lunches, offer it to them at dinner time or my old favourite - making ice blocks out of it.

It’s a new and easy way to balance your children’s sugar intake.

Have you ever tried reducing your kids sugar intake? 

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