Public Health England (PHE) is helping parents take control of their children’s snacking by launching the first Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks.
This is because half of children’s sugar intake, currently around 7 sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.
Each year children are consuming almost 400 biscuits; more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries; around 100 portions of sweets; nearly 70 of both chocolate bars and ice creams; washed down with over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.
On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more. The overall result is that children consume 3 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.
Selected supermarkets are supporting the campaign. As part of their wider work promoting good health, Tesco will help parents – instore and online – choose affordable, healthier snacks that are 100 calories or less. Co-op will also provide tasty and healthy snacking products, making it easier for customers to make healthier choices on the go.
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.
Many of the unhealthy snacks children consume regularly are high in sugar and also typically high in calories, for example:
- an ice-cream contains around 175 calories
- a pack of crisps contains around 190 calories
- a chocolate bar contains around 200 calories
- a pastry contains around 270 calories
The ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ 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 5 A Day.