What kids eat is so important for healthy growth and development. However, many children’s diets are falling well short of recommendations with many typically eating too many unhealthy foods and too few foods they need for healthy growth, especially teenagers.
Did you know?
Nearly one in two children regularly drink sugary drinks
Half of children eat an unhealthy snack every day
60% are eating enough fruit and only 5% are eating enough vegetables each day
Healthy snacks help children and teenagers meet their daily nutritional needs as they provide that extra fuel they may need between meals, especially when there is a long time between breakfast, lunch and dinner and for when they are growing quickly.
Snacks based on fruit and vegies, nuts and seeds, reduced fat dairy products and wholegrains are the best choices. Limit snacks that are high in sugar, salt or saturated fats – such as biscuits, cakes, ice creams and confectionery as these foods don’t provide the important nutrients kids need. These ‘extra foods’ should only be offered to your kids occasionally.
Try these simple homemade healthy snacks:
Toasted sandwiches made with wholemeal or wholegrain bread
Wholemeal raisin bread or English muffins
Home popped plain popcorn
Hommus or tazatziki with wholegrain crackers and vegie sticks
Wholegrain low sugar breakfast cereal with milk and banana
Instead of sugary drinks or fruit juice try:
Milk, preferably reduced fat
Smoothies made on milk or yoghurt with fresh or frozen fruit or vegetables
Icy cold water with sliced fresh fruit
Commercial snack foods available in the supermarket, while convenient, can be expensive, contribute to packaging waste and have varying nutritional value. The best choices are fresh fruit, fruit and nut packs, tubs of plain or low sugar yoghurt, tubs of fruit (in juice not syrup), wholegrain crackers, cartons of UHT plain milk and lightly salted air popped popcorn.
Cancer Council’s Healthy Lunch Box website is a great place for snack and swap inspiration.
Your kids can check out the healthy lunch box website for ideas on snacks they would like to try. They can even make some of them themselves. See our swaps section for ideas on how to swap out those unhealthy snacks.
The Heathy Lunch Box website was created by Cancer Council NSW to save you time and money, and our clever tips for adding fruit and vegetables to your diet can set yourself and your family on a path of lifelong healthy eating, to reduce your cancer risk. Help us continue our work in cancer prevention – Donate now