Public Health England urges parents to limit the snacking in latest Change4Life campaign
Children should eat just two snacks a day, according to the latest advice.
Public Health England says the amount of sugar children are consuming could be better controlled if the issue of healthy and non healthy snacks was tackled.
It is estimated that half a child's sugar intake - around seven cubes a day - comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks. And that on average children are eating three of these each day which over a year is leading to them consuming 400 biscuits, more than 120 cakes, 100 portions of sweets and washed down with 150 juice pouches or fizzy drinks.
Launching the first Change4Life campaign of the new year - promoting healthier snacks - families are being encouraged to let their smallest members eat just two snacks a day at 100 calories each.
Selected supermarkets are supporting the campaign with Tesco helping parents shopping instore and online to choose affordable healthier snacks that are less than 100 calories and Co-op producing snacking products that will make 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 says Public Health England, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their five-a-day intake.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, 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."