Sugary drinks can also cause health problems for children

Reducing the amount of sugar we give to our children, helps to keep their weight under control and prevent them from obesity in the future. A healthy diet has a positive impact on their quality of life and can even help them live longer. That’s why, we’re on a mission to help all parents make some healthy changes for their future.

How much is too much?

The recommended daily limit of added sugar for 7-11-year-olds is 24 grams or 5.5 teaspoons. There are around 13 teaspoons in one bottle of cola – that’s more than twice the amount a young person should be consuming in one day! Cutting down on sugary drinks is one of the best ways to quickly reduce the amount of sugar in children’s diets.

What are the risks of too much sugar?

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges we face. Overweight and obese children and young people are at an increased risk of developing various physical and mental health problems, including diabetes, heart conditions and depression.

There are many different reasons that can lead to obesity, but people often focus on fat, content of food rather than looking at the amount of sugar we consume. Surprisingly, sugary fizzy drinks, energy drinks, iced coffees and even some flavoured waters can contain high amounts of sugar that can put our children’s health at risk.

Sugar fact: 1 in 3 children in Sheffield aged 10-11 are overweight or obese

Cutting down on sugary drinks

If your kids have become used to having sugary drinks most days of the week, it can be hard to break the habit. But a few small changes can make a huge difference to their health and well-being. Here are some tips to help them, and you, to cut down:

  • Make sugary drinks a weekend rather than an everyday option
  • Cut back gradually so it isn’t such a shock
  • Replace high sugar drinks with diet or zero sugar alternatives or no-added sugar cordial mixed with sparkling water
  • Introduce fizz-free Fridays
  • Always look for no-added sugar cordials
  • Create your own flavoured water by putting fruit or cucumber in it overnight
  • Get the kids to keep a drink diary and set themselves goals
  • Reward their efforts to a family day out with the money you save

Top tip: Save money by switching from a high sugar drink, costing around £1.50 per day, to low-sugar cordial, costing less than £1.50 per week. And remember, water and milk are still the best and healthiest drink options!

The health benefits

Making a few small changes, like buying fewer sugary drinks and only eating sugary snacks occasionally rather than as an everyday essential. This can help older children to keep up these healthy habits into adulthood.

Sugar swaps - how to avoid the worst offeners (children 7-11)

Click or tap the card to reveal the swap

Breakfast Swaps

Frosted flakes cereal


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Wheat cereal with fruit

Snacks Swaps

Chocolate bar


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Caramel rice cake


Bag of sweets


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Drink Swaps

Energy drinks


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No added sugar cordial

with fizzy water, or sugar free fizzy drinks


Ice-cream milkshake


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Carton of no added sugar chocolate milk


Coffee shop flavoured hot chocolate with whipped cream


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Low calorie hot chocolate sachet

made with milk or water


Based on approximate quantities; taking an average from a collation of popular brands and supermarket product