Media Release

22nd April 2008

Taranaki’s parents warned about children’s snack traps

Taranaki parents need to be aware of traps when they are giving their children snacks, according to Jill Nicholls, Taranaki DHB’s Public Health Dietitian. Ms Nicholls says parents want to do the best for their children but many people struggle to work out which snacks are healthy.

“Ninety three percent of New Zealand kids, including in the Taranaki eat snacks like chippies every week, while biscuits are eaten weekly by 78 percent.”

Ms Nicholls says many people don’t realise packet noodles are made up of 20 percent fat which rules them out as a healthy snack, while the muesli bar shelf is particularly challenging for parents.

Providing healthy snacks for children in Taranaki need not be difficult, she says. The key is having some basic healthy ingredients at the ready. 

“Seasonal fruit, bread, bulk bins of fruit and nuts, low fat and low sugar yoghurts are all easy and quick snacks to throw together.”

A national survey shows less than half of kiwi kids are eating enough fruit and vegetables so snacking on fruit and vegetables is a great way of making sure kids are getting enough goodness in their diets.

But Ms Nicholls warns parents not to fall for the pitfall of fruit juices and fruit leathers.

“Most people think orange juice and fruit leathers are full of vitamins and very healthy. Unfortunately juices are just a sugary drink and fruit leathers are very bad for children’s teeth.”

Fruit juice should be offered as an occasional treat otherwise kids get used to sugary foods and are less content with water and milk.

Quick tips for parents

Think about a variety of breads and toppings, such as a piece of raisin toast with mashed banana, peanut butter on toast, cottage cheese and tomato on bread, crumpets, cheese on toast, baked beans on toast, even a bowl of cereal.

Make at least half of your meal colourful vegetables. Frozen and canned are just as good as fresh.

Sit down to meals as a family. Children eat better when they eat with you.

Make water and milk the first choice. Water has no added sugar and is freely available.

Getting kids involved in the kitchen helps them learn about healthy food.

For more information please call:

Jill Nicholls
Public Health Dietitian
Health Promotion Unit
Taranaki District Health Board
06 753 7777 ext 8540

For more information about Feeding our Futures

Michelle Mako
027 247 9878

Background

The healthy snacks message is part of the Feeding our Futures programme, which was developed by the Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) in partnership with Agencies for Nutrition Action (ANA).

The programme was launched in May 2007 and has information and tips about accessible, affordable and easy ways parents can provide healthy diets for children. More information can be found on the programme website www.feedingourfutures.org.nz.

The programme is part of the Ministry of Health’s Healthy Eating, Healthy Action: Oranga Kai Oranga Pumau (HEHA) strategy to improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce obesity.

Last updated: Thursday, May 1, 2008

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