El Paso, Texas (NAPSI) - Sweet news for many parents is that you can reduce the amount of sugar in your youngster’s diet and still get some affection from your happy kids.

Here are hints on how:

• Substitute applesauce or pureed prunes for half the sugar in recipes, which can cut sugar content in half.

• Use spices and herbs such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger to enhance the flavor of foods naturally instead of adding sugar.

• Instead of chips, candy or pastry, offer crackers, a piece of fruit or vegetables such as carrots or a glass of fruit juice.

• Offer fruit juice instead of sugary drinks. The USDA says most kids should have fruit every day, and while the majority of fruit servings should come from whole fruit, 100 percent juice is a healthy option when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

If 100 percent fruit juice isn’t your choice, you can dilute it to reduce the sugar (lots of parents do these days). If dilution compromises the juice flavor that appeals to kids, try a no-added-sugar juice beverage like Juicy Juice Fruitifuls, an all-natural juice beverage that has 35 percent less sugar than regular juice, provides a full serving of fruit and tastes great. You can decrease the amount of sugar your kids consume, provide refreshment and still make sure they get fruit juice nutrition. As an added bonus, like original Juicy Juice products, it’s an excellent source of vitamin C and can be a part of a healthy, balanced diet for kids who can now drink up to 30 percent more juice and still remain within the USDA guidelines.

• You can use fruit juice as a substitute for pancake syrup. Just add a little bit of molasses, to taste, and some cornstarch and simmer the mixture until it reaches the thickness you like.

• If you serve canned fruit, make sure it’s packed in water or juice, not syrup.

• Read labels and compare products. The nutritional label lists the ingredients in a product in order. The higher up an ingredient is on the list, the more there is of it in the food.

• Make your own salad dressing with fruit juice, balsamic vinegar, honey and mustard.

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