Public Health England have recently been in the news for talking about children’s snacks and limiting them to 100 kcals per snack. However, the main message from Public Health England seems to have got a little lost amongst the media hype with typical “children can’t eat chocolate bars…ever again” style articles gaining interest.
However, the campaign from the Government is actually trying to encourage parents to cut back on sugary snacks and to try to limit snacks to around 2 a day for most children. This is because research has suggested that children are often grazing on snacks throughout the day and are eating 3 times more sugar than recommended.
“On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more” PHE 2018
The aim of the campaign
The focus of the campaign is around helping parents to choose healthier options when it comes to snacks for kids; to try not to rely solely on crisps, biscuits and cake bars as snacks, and to add variety and more nutrients in their diet in-between meals. Snacks are so important for children as they help to give an energy boost between meals, but they are also an ideal time to boost nutrient intakes too. Therefore, the kind of snacks that are chosen and offered are important.
Importantly, I want to stress that it’s not a good idea to use “calorie counting” when it comes to children. The 100 calorie option is simply a guide, not a strict recommendation. The calorie cap is in place to support supermarkets and brands who are producing snacks for children, so they have an understanding of appropriate portion sizes. Parents would not be expected to check labels of children’s food for calories or add up the number of calories they are eating. This isn’t a healthy message to pass on to children when it comes to food and healthy eating.
Instead parents can simply be a little more mindful of how many snacks their children are eating, how regularly they are having them, and what types of snacks they are filling up on each day.
I’ve written about healthy snacks for children and toddlers before. You can read my top tips and also my snack ideas here.
Some ideas for you
If you’re looking for something a little different, or are wanting to meet the 100 calorie recommendation, these snack ideas below should do the trick. Let me know if you have any more ideas yourselves, I’d love to add extras to this blog post.
- Exotic fruits – Fruits are so easy to add to a lunchbox or offer off the cuff at home. There are also plenty of exotic and exciting sounding fruits to choose from too and to get your little one’s excited about mealtimes. Think lychees (my favourite!), passion fruit, figs, dragon fruit or even just frozen grapes, kiwi pots or melons cut into funky shapes.
- Roasted chickpeas with paprika – I’m a massive fan of making hummus and falafels, but roasted chickpeas are another way of using up a tin of these pulses. Simply add a tin of chickpeas to an oven dish with a dash of olive oil and a sprinkling of paprika and watch them turn into crunchy, protein-filled treats that your kids will love.
- Plain popcorn is such a great snack option, AND it’s wholegrain! It’s also so easy to make popcorn exciting by adding some paprika or some herbs or even a drizzle of honey or dark chocolate.
- Mini Spanish omelettes are great as little bites for kids to munch on. You can totally make these your own by adding cheese, veggies, meat and or fish. Use a greased cake tin or some mini cake cases and bake the omelettes in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.
- Baked apple slices – As simple as it sounds. Slice apple as thinly as you can and bake the slices in single file in the oven until crisp.
Got any more ideas?
Do send in any more healthy snack options you love and, in the meantime you can read all about the Change 4 Life/Public Health England Campaign here – https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/healthier-snacks-for-kids/100-calorie-snacks#7233xAchTUSj7Xst.97
If you’re looking for Healthy Snack ideas for adults, this blog is the place for you to visit next! http://www.srnutrition.co.uk/2016/06/healthy-snack-ideas