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Refresh Your Child’s Diet with Low-Sugar Options

Courtney Hines, nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, shares tips for cleaning up snack time.

Many families look to the new year as a time to reset their eating habits and focus on making healthier choices. However, adults aren’t the only ones who could use a menu refresh. 


A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found nearly all of the toddlers in their study ate an average of seven teaspoons of added sugar daily – the equivalent of a candy bar. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, excess sugar consumption can lead to an increased risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.


“Small children have small stomachs,” said Courtney Hines, a nutritionist for KinderCare Learning Centers, which cares for more than 165,000 children around the country every day. “You want them to fill up on nutrient-dense foods, not empty calories in the form of added sugar.”


For families that want to cut down on the amount of added sugar in their diets, Hines recommends these low-sugar ideas for meal and snack times.


Swap Out Syrup

Hines recommends pancake toppings that are sweet and savory without the added sugar of syrup: 


  • Peanut, almond, or sun butter and banana slices
  • A warm berry mix 
  • Applesauce (no sugar added variety) and cinnamon

Snack Sweet

These alternatives can still help satisfy those cravings:

  • Applesauce with baked cinnamon pita triangles for dipping
  • Toast topped with nut or seed butter, smashed banana and a sprinkle of cinnamon
  • Frozen fruit smoothies
  • Plain yogurt topped with granola, nuts, seeds, or fruit
  • Apple slices with nut or seed butter


For more ideas to introduce your children to healthy habits from a young age, visit kindercare.com.

KinderCare Learning Centers is opening two brand new centers in Center City this year!  Old City KinderCare will be opening this October and  Avenue of the Arts KinderCare will be opening this winter! To save your spot or find out more, visit KinderCare.com or call 833-90-LEARN today!



KinderCare Learning Centers is America's largest, most accredited child care provider, serving hardworking families across the country. For more than 50 years, we’ve been creating safe, encouraging environments where kids can learn, grow and build confidence for life. At KinderCare, hardworking families are family—regardless of needs, backgrounds, and experiences. www.kindercare.com