With Australians reportedly consuming on average 60g of sugars each day, compared to the World Health Organisation recommendation of 25g per day, sugar consumption is a problem that needs to be addressed. It is also reported that the high sugar consumption is worse in teenagers in Australia, so how can you ensure that your children are not overdoing the sweet stuff? It’s difficult to track every meal and snack they eat when they are at school, but during weekends and school holidays there are many free options of how to entertain and feed children, such as having a picnic in the park. Parks provide outdoor activities, are free to visit, and if you take a picnic the cost stays low. However, don’t be tempted to fill the basket with unhealthy snacks, opt for some homemade treats that will satisfy a sweet tooth while being healthy.
WHAT TO PACK
When the weather gets hot it’s essential to invest in a cool bag or box to carry your picnic. Lined with insulation, these will keep food fresh and if you need to you can add some freezer packs for optimal cooling. Review the different types available and decide what you need, whether it’s a cool bag for three or a cooler box for more than one family. Don’t forget to pack a picnic blanket, lots of water and some games to entertain the children.
TREATS AFTER THE MAIN COURSE
Once you’ve made sure that children have eaten their sandwiches or whatever savoury delights you have packed, it’s time to move onto the sweet treats. It’s important not to load up on processed, sugary snacks, so how about making your own fruit treats dipped in yoghurt. Homemade yoghurt is easy to make, you will just need to invest in a yoghurt maker. Though it’s one more piece of equipment in your kitchen, there’s the fact that you don’t have to buy expensive yoghurt which may have hidden preservatives or additives. Once you have made your own yoghurt blend, which contains healthy probiotics, you can chop up fruit to dunk in it. Alternatively, you can whip up some tasty, low sugar apricot balls which are easy to make and contain no added sugars or flavouring.
WHEN THE KIDS STILL WANT MORE
If the combination of yoghurt and fruit doesn’t quite take the edge off the kids’ demands for a sweeter treat, then try making delicious rice bubble slices or another sugar-free snack. These are nut free, naturally sweet, are quick and easy to make, and contain healthy chia and sesame seeds for extra flavour. If time is tight then take a bag of popcorn as it’s low in fat and high in fibre. Just ensure you pick a brand that’s not loaded with sugar and salt.
Where ever you are located in the country, it’s good to take the children to the park and let them spend time outdoors rather than inside watching television or glued to tablets. Parks are everywhere, they are free and taking a picnic is a way to reduce cost and ensure healthy eating. Don’t pack your cooler with artificially sweetened snacks, instead try one of the may sugar free recipes that are now available. Lastly, don’t tell the kids, they won’t even guess their treats are sugar-free.
Lucy Lees is a professional freelance writer with many years experience across a variety of sectors. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her.