In 2015 new UK targets were introduced to limit free sugar intake to 5% of daily energy. This includes sugars present in honey and fruit juices. Current intakes are far higher than the 5% target, for children free sugars account for approximately 13 – 15% of their daily energy. Perhaps easier to grasp are the following guidelines for maximum free sugar intakes:
Under 1 year Not to be given
1 – 3 years No recommendation
4 – 6 years 19g a day ( 4 ½tsp)
7 – 10 years 24g a day ( 5 ¾tsp)
11 years and older 30g a day (approx. 7 tsp)
Thanks to Jamie Oliver (as well as other campaigners) there are national standards for school meals which all school caterers must adhere to. However, there is still more sugar than you might expect in school puddings. For example, a slice of chocolate cracknel (information correct from Warwickshire menus in 2016) contains approx.16g of sugar. If you compare this to the table above most children in reception and year 1 will be consuming 84% of their recommended maximum free sugar intake in that pudding alone. True there is the option of fresh fruit, but is your child making that choice?
Of course this is only one example but sugary puddings are offered most days, which is a change of habit for families that may have previously given sugary puddings occasionally. And true children are not at school every day of the year, but it doesn’t take long to create a new habit.
A simple way to reduce sugar would be to reduce the portion size, or recipe modification. If your child’s school meals are an area of interest to you, you can find out more information by contacting Warwickshire County Caterers.
For more information on sugars visit https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/Sugar.pdf