Change4Life encourages healthy snacking habits for children in the U.K.

Public Health England (PHE) has launched Change4Life, an initiative that asks U.K. parents to seek out healthier snacks for their children. The campaign urges parents to serve “100 calorie snacks, two a day max” in hopes of lowering children’s daily sugar and calorie intake. The campaign’s message applies to all snacks apart from fruits and vegetables. 

According to the agency, on average, children in the U.K. are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day — more than three times the recommended amount — with around a third consuming four or more. 

“The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar,” said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist, PHE. “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.”

Change4Life will provide discount vouchers and a “Food Scanner” app to help parents access healthier snack options. Its web site offers healthy snacking recipes that include options such as banana and apricot bagels, carrot and courgetti muffins, nutty apple and celery rice cakes. 

Supermarkets also are supporting the initiative. Tesco will provide in-store and online resources to help parents choose affordable, healthier snacks that are 100 calories or less. Co-op also will offer more healthy snacking items that can be enjoyed on-the go.

PHE is currently working with the food manufacturers in the U.K. to cut 20% of sugar from products such as cakes, biscuits, pastries and more by 2020, with programs aiming to reduce calories beginning in 2018.