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Five smart sugar swaps for a healthy smile

Sugar appears in lots of different foods, even ones that seem harmless or that are labelled as a healthy choice. And foods that have hidden sugar content can potentially damage your child’s teeth if they eat a lot of them.

The good news is, small changes made now can protect your child’s teeth from decay. Even better, setting up these good habits will help your child embrace healthy eating throughout their life.

It’s important to remember your child shouldn’t snack too much throughout the day. Try and limit their grazing to three meals and two snack times, to prevent tooth decay.

So, if you’re looking to cut down the amount of sugar in your child’s diet, here are five smart sugar swaps for a healthy smile:

Large bowl of plain porridge with blueberries in background

1. Start the day with a swap

There’s a reason breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, so try to choose healthier options over sugary cereals.

Porridge contains just 1g of sugar in a 30g serving (instead of the 30g you find in the average bowl of sugar-coated cereal), and it’s full of B-vitamins, fibre and slow-release energy. Perfect for setting your child up for the day ahead. To add some natural sweetness, why not include some banana mixed up with the porridge?

Large bowl of frozen fruit dusted in ice

2. The healthy way to stay hydrated

Fizzy drinks are packed with sugar – a can of cola can have up to 35g in it. But did you know smoothies can be nearly as bad? Some shop-bought smoothies contain 25g of sugar in a 250ml bottle, so they’re not the healthiest option for kids to drink.

Instead, try and make your own with some frozen berries and a splash of milk– that way you can keep an eye on just how much sugar goes into their smoothie. And remember, you can’t go wrong with water , buy a fun bottle with a collapsible straw - it makes drinking water much more interesting for children.

Tangerine segments dipped in dark chocolate

3. Get them involved with their lunchbox snacks

Kids are more likely to want to eat food they’ve made themselves, so beat the lunchtime sugar high and get them involved with making their own lunchbox energy bars for a low-sugar snack. Start with a selection of dried fruit and low-sugar cereal and get creative. Or you could try these ideas:

  • Swap a packet of crisps for some tasty cubes of cheese
  • Swap a chocolate bar for some delicious dark chocolate-dipped tangerine segments
  • Swap a cookie for a homemade nutty granola bar
Popcorn being poured into a bowl

4. Sugar-less snacks after school

We know kids can come home feeling hungry after school, so aim to stock up on healthy snacks to keep them going until dinner. Need a bit of inspiration? Try some of these low-sugar snack swaps:

  • Swap a muffin for a freshly toasted fruit teacake
  • Swap a packet of crisps for a bag of freshly popped plain popcorn
  • Swap a chocolate biscuit for a rice cake with a dollop of sugar-free Greek yoghurt
Banana and peanut butter sandwiches

5. Keep dessert sweet with less sugar

Make desserts work harder and give your kids a healthy treat that’s packed with vitamins.

Try swapping a bowl of ice-cream for some frozen yoghurt, top it with chopped banana and peanut butter and you’re good to go. All the flavour, but with less of the sugar, and it’s one of their five-a-day!

Book your child’s free NHS check-up today

Kids go free on the NHS until they reach 18, or 19 and are still in full-time education.

Children can also see our dentists for free until the age of five with Bupa Dental Essentials, an alternative treatment level between NHS and full private.

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Bupa Dental Care is a trading name of Oasis Healthcare Limited. Registered in England and Wales number: 03257078. Registered office: Bupa Dental Care Vantage Office Park, Old Gloucester Road, Hambrook, Bristol, United Kingdom BS16 1GW.

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