Is Jam a good choice as a breakfast option for children?
Toast and jam can be a super popular breakfast option for children. But with half of every spoonful of jam being sugar in my mind it might not be a great to start the day with jam toast all the time.
Lets look at the sugar content of jam in a bit more detail.
Below are quick visual guides to the World Health Organisations recommendations for children’s sugar intakes by age.
How does jam compare to the WHO Sugar Guidelines
How to interpret the ‘NEW’ Sugar Gallery Visuals
- The new visual will always specify the amount of the food that is being compared. In this case it is 1 TBSP. (In the gallery I will try to keep the amounts used the same across food categories, so that we are comparing “apples with apples”. i.e. all condiments will be presented as 1 Tablespoon servings. Please note in NZ a Tablespoon is 15ml ie 3 teaspoons, This the measure I use. In other countries it can be 20ml ie 4 teaspoons.
- The new visual will always show how much sugar is present in the serving specified. In this case it is 1.5 teaspoons of sugar
- The visual will then compare this amount of sugar against the WHO sugar guidelines by age, this is done with a traffic light system
- Green : The amount of sugar provided in the serving does not exceed 5% of total energy intake for that age
- Orange : The amount of sugar provided in the serving is between 5-10% of total energy intake for that age
- Red : The amount of sugar provided in the serving meets or exceeds 10% of total energy intake for that age
If you would like a full explanation of the calculations I use please find them in this article The one that explains how much sugar is unhealthy for your child
In the case of jam although there is a green light for all of the ages. It does pay to remember that the visuals represents a full days sugar intake. Jam provides quite a lot of sugar, particularly if spread thickly or if your child has many pieces of toast.
Practical ways to make toast a healthier breakfast option
- Start with a wholegrain bread. For my thoughts on bread for kids you can find them here.
- If you are going to use a sugary spread like Jam or Honey then spread it thinly and perhaps only offer one slice with this sort of topping
- Consider mixing the sugary toppings with other spreads so that you use less. i.e. Peanutbutter with a thin spread of honey or jam can be a better option than a thick spread of jam or honey by itself.
- Consider other toast toppings which contain less sugar and more protein and healthy fats. These are 10 of my favourite healthy toast toppings for kids
- Give Chia Seed Jam a go, It is not as tricky, crazy or left field as you may think. I am just putting together a post on my experiences with Chia Seed Jam, I am officially a convert!