Embargoed until Monday 3 February 2008.
Date: 31 January 2008
The Truth About Kids Snacks
Most of us think that popcorn is an easy, light and healthy snack to give kids, and some types are. But did you know that some pre-packaged microwave popcorn contains more fat than a Big Mac burger?
When it comes to snacks, knowing what's good and what's not is no easy matter but when it comes to giving your kids snacks, don't just reach for the packets.
"Try and choose simple, home-prepared snacks instead so that you know exactly what's in them," said Janet Hanvey, Healthy Eating Healthy Action (HEHA) project manager for Waikato DHB.
"For example, popcorn made on a stove or in a popcorn maker is usually much better for kids especially as you get to choose how much fat or sugar you add."
A recent National Children's Nutrition Survey, less than half of New Zealand children eat fruit twice a day and only 57 per cent eat vegetables three or more times a day.
"Combine this with the fact that children are snacking on more high-fat, high-sugar snacks than is good for them and we have a serious problem," Ms Hanvey said.
Snacks like potato crisps, corn snacks and chips were consumed weekly by 93 per cent of New Zealand kids and biscuits were consumed weekly by 78 per cent.
The focus on healthy snacking is part of a nationwide campaign running during February from the national Feeding our Futures programme which offers parents advice on how to achieve a healthy diet for their kids.
Popcorn is just one snack idea being promoted for kids but there are many others that can save parents time and money and can be made from everyday items found in the fridge or kitchen cupboard.
"Try mini pizzas or snacks like smoothies or fruit kebabs are an easy, fast example that kids can also have fun making themselves.
"Getting your kids to help you prepare the snacks is a good way of making sure they will eat them too.
"If they've helped make them, they're more likely to want to try them," Ms Hanvey said.
The message about snacking is simple - Make it quick, make it easy and make it fun. Feeding our Futures is offering parents new ideas for tasty, quick and healthy snacks.
For more ideas visit www.feedingourfutures.org.nz.
For more information about HEHA visit www.waikatodhb.govt.nz.