A happy and healthy new year

Happy New Year readers, I trust you all enjoyed the festive season. With many new year’s resolutions being made to make healthier choices, Public Health England (PHE) is also using the start of 2018 to urge parents to help their children make healthier choices.

As part of its work with the food industry to cut 20 per cent of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, PHE is launching the first Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks, with the hope that parents will take control of their children’s snacking.

As part of the campaign, which follows reports that half the sugar children consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, parents are being encouraged to ‘look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ to cut youngsters’ sugar intake. The current average sees children consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around one third consuming four or more.

In addition to the ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ rule, children will also be encouraged to eat a variety of fruit and veg to achieve their recommended five portions per day.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, says, “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.”

It’s good to see support from some of the UK’s supermarkets, with Tesco helping parents both in store and online to choose affordable, healthier snacks of 100 calories or less; and Co-op aiming to make it easier for customers to make healthier choices on the go by providing tasty and healthy snacking products. In addition, money-off vouchers are available from Change4Life to help parents and children try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower sugar fromage frais and drinks with no added sugar.

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