New guidance recommends limit of two 100 calorie snacks for children

The new Change4Life campaign encourages parents to give children healthy snacks such as rice cakes rather than chocolate or sweets.

The aim of the campaign by Public Health England (PHE) is to help parents 'take control' of their children's snacking by promoting healthier snacks.

It is in response to concerns that children are consuming three times more sugar than recommended, leading to obesity and dental decay. According to PHE, half of children’s sugar intake, currently around seven sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks.

As such, the campaign encourages parents to swap unhealthy snacks such as ice-cream, crisps and chocolate for two 100 calorie snacks a day such as malt loaf, rice cakes and drinks with no added sugar.

The ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables.

According to PHE, 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 and over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.

Through the Change4life campaign, which is supported by supermarkets including Tesco and Co-op, parents can get vouchers for money off healthier snacks.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), 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.’

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