A new campaign from Public Health England is urging parents to limit snacks for children to two a day, and 100 calories a piece. The aim is to reduce kids’ sugar consumption – according to PHE data, children eat on average 10kg of sugar every year, with about half of this coming from sugary drinks and snacks.
This is definitely an important initiative, but any parent will tell you that getting little ones to swap cereal bars for celery is no easy task. You could explain again and again how eating too much sugar can lead to health problems like obesity and tooth decay, but that doesn’t mean children will fully understand why snacking on sweet treats can be a problem.
Though encouraging children to eat healthy snacks isn’t as easy as clearing out the cupboards, that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible feat. Here’s how to make it less of a labour.
There are only so much vegetable sticks and hummus that anyone can eat before it gets boring, so you will need to get a bit creative with the snacks on offer. But this is not about going over the top with Pinterest-worthy creations either. Bright colours and interesting textures will do the trick, as well as pairing already well-liked flavours with new tastes.
Variety can help as well. Rather than just having single snacks to hand, get a couple of alternatives ready. Again, these don’t need to be presented on a platter, the idea is to give them the autonomy to choose.
Have pots of plain yogurt or fromage frais in the fridge, nuts and raisins ready to be scooped out in handfuls, or some oven roasted vegetable crisps with a small amount of dip waiting in the cupboard.