Did you know?
- More than a third of young people in NSW report eating potato crisps or other salty snacks at least 3 times per week
- Over a quarter of young people in NSW eat confectionary at least 3 times per week
- Most young children eat enough fruit every day, but only about half of children aged 9-15 years have the recommended daily amount.
Healthy snacks help kids and teens refuel
Healthy snacks in between main meals help kids and teens meet their daily nutritional needs.
Young children have smaller stomachs than adults, so they need to eat every few hours to keep up their energy levels and get the right amount of nutrients. Teens get particularly hungry during periods of fast development and snacks are important.
Snacks based on fruit and vegies, reduced fat dairy products and whole grains are the healthiest choices.
It is important to limit snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats – such as chips, cakes and chocolate – which can cause children to put on excess weight. These ‘extra foods’ should only be offered occasionally.
Ideas to help you ‘snack smart’
- The simplest way to limit unhealthy snacks is to not buy them. Instead, stock the pantry, fruit bowl and fridge with healthy snacks, and include them in lunchboxes.
- Commercial snack foods available in the supermarket have varying nutritional value. When choosing grain-based snacks, look for the healthier options which are high in fibre and whole grains – and look for products with the Heart Foundation Tick.
- Put a clear limit on the number of less healthy snack foods eaten each week, such as lollies, chocolate, donuts, some fruit bars, cereal bars and muesli bars, potato and corn chips, hot chips and savoury and sweet biscuits.
What makes a healthy snack?
Here are some simple ideas for healthy snacks that you can make at home or add to lunchboxes:
- Fruit muffins or slices, baked using monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils and margarine instead of butter
- Fresh, frozen, canned (in natural or unsweetened juice) or dried fruit
- Raisin or fruit toast*
- Toasted English muffins, preferably wholemeal or wholegrain*
- Reduced fat custard with fruit
- Rice crackers or corn cakes
- Plain popcorn (unbuttered and without sugar coating)
- Scones or pikelets (plain, fruit or savoury)*
- Plain breakfast cereals, such as wheat breakfast biscuits, topped with sliced banana with a drizzle of honey
- Snack-sized tub of reduced fat yoghurt (plain or fruit flavoured)
- Cubes, slices, shapes or wedges of reduced fat cheese with wholegrain crackers or crispbread
- Potatoes, topped with reduced fat cheese and baked in the microwave or oven.
- Corn on the cob
- A boiled egg
* Skip the spread or use in small amounts, preferably monounsaturated or polyunsaturated.