Give Children Less Sugar

Here at Bexley Manor Nursery School we are committed to laying good foundations for lifelong health and wellbeing. In London, 1 in 5 children in reception are overweight and 1 in 4 five year olds have tooth decay.

At nursery we follow voluntary food & drink guidelines for Early Years settings in England. However, we often come across baby foods and weaning products that are sold as “no added sugar”. Despite being marketed to look healthy, with pictures of fruit and vegetables, these products still contain high levels of sugar from fruit juices. A high sugar intake contributes to tooth decay and children becoming overweight and obese.

Results from a recent survey into diet and nutrition suggests that the average daily sugar intake for children 1½ – 3 years old is 11.3%, this is more than double the recommended amount.

Basic sugars found in honey and fruits such as apples and bananas have the same effects as the refined sugars of fizzy drinks and chocolate, even though they don’t have such a bad reputation.

We urge parents to check labelling. Vegetable purees are often sweetened with pear or apple juice to make them more appealing to babies, but it is important for babies to be introduced to a variety of flavours including the bitter taste of vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

At nursery we have noticed differences in how willing children are to try new flavours and textures. We all encourage children to try new foods and praise the little steps they take.