The proposed 'Sugar Tax', championed by Jamie Oliver himself, will be debated in Parliament later this month with over 154,000 signatures on the petition in favour of the tax; and the UK government's Health Committee is expected to release their report on childhood obesity around the same time. According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organisation, we should aim to keep our daily intake of 'free' sugars down to about 25g or 6 teaspoons. This includes all sugars, apart from those naturally present in fruits and vegetables.

Tanya and Philippa

Tanya and Philippa

So what can we do to help our families steer clear of the white stuff, and how much is actually safe? Sugar is everywhere. It hides in our breakfast cereal and our pasta sauce, our snack bars and even in bread. We use it to celebrate the good times and to comfort us in the bad times. With the growing awareness of the health effects of refined sugars, this is the hot topic on everyone's lips. It's a tricky task to try and avoid sugar, and even trickier to help kids do so.

With this in mind, we founded Sweetpea Pantry in 2014, when we found that most snacks on shelves we wanted to make for our own kids were full of unhealthy processed ingredients including a high percentage of refined sugar. We set out to create tasty and healthy alternatives for families, which kids love to make and eat, and which parents can feel good about giving to their kids at the same time.

In addition to providing healthier snacks, there are some simple ways to slowly cut down on sugar as a family, such as using unrefined sugars as an alternative, or using natural alternatives like date syrup, honey or mashed banana. It's an addiction, it will be hard! Some other ways to keep sugar levels down include:

  • Get H2O - make water the go to family drink, avoiding cordials, squash and juices. Try flavouring your water with lemon or mint instead.
  • Make it easy - keep you kitchen a junk free zone, replacing sugary foods with healthy snacks such as veggie sticks or energy balls
  • Check your labels - sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn't expect, and checking the label will help you make good comparisons
  • Adjust your palate - slowly reducing sweeteners and diluting juices more and more will help your kids get used to (and even prefer) lower-sugar options

At Sweetpea Pantry, our focus is on getting the goodness in where we can; our mixes for pancakes, pizza dough, flapjacks and biscuits use all natural, whole grain, high fibre and protein ingredients. Some of our Sweetpea products have no sugar at all (like our Grainy Brainy Pancakes) and we'll be adding more of these in the future along with an on-the-go snack range for children later this year. We just need to aim to control and reduce our sugar consumption wherever we can, and get goodness into our foods where possible. It only takes a few simple adjustments to feel better about the foods you and your kids are eating, and to keep sugar levels at bay.

By Philippa Askham of Sweetpea Pantry

Sweetpea Pantry products are available to buy online at or from Marks and Spencer, Ocado, Booths and health stores around the UK. Products start from £4.99 for a 365g packet

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