Taking control of snacking

Helping parents take control of their children’s snacking is the focus of Public Health England (PHE)'s first Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks.

Statistics reveal that on average, children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming four or more. The overall result is that children consume three times more sugar than is recommended.

The new Change4Life campaign encourages parents to look for ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ to help them purchase healthier snacks than the ones they currently buy. This tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their five a day.

Parents can also get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower-sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.

Selected supermarkets including Tesco and Co-op are supporting the campaign helping parents – instore and online – choose affordable, healthier snacks that are 100 calories or less and make it easier for customers to make healthier choices on the go.

Dr Alison Tedstone, PHE's chief nutritionist, said: “The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.

“To make it easier for busy families, we’ve developed a simple rule of thumb to help them move towards healthier snacking – look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max.”

Fast facts

According to PHE, each year children consume:

  • Almost 400 biscuits
  • More than 120 cakes, buns and pastries
  • Around 100 portions of sweets
  • Nearly 70 of both chocolate bars and ice creams
  • Over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.

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