All you need to know about snacking ...

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Kids love to snack. The cries of "I'm starving, what can I eat now?!" are all too familiar for most parents. The problem is that many snacks can be full of saturated fat, salt and sugar. Eating too much of these over time can lead to serious health problems, so it's important to have healthy alternatives to hand when your wee one comes along demanding crisps and chocolate!

We've got some great ideas for quick, low-cost healthy snacks for busy families. When you're out and about our Snack Heroes will help fight hunger, or if you're looking for an after school nibble why not try one of our snack recipes? Making a few weekly changes can help your kids develop habits to keep them happy and healthy.

Snack recipes

Here are some healthy and tasty snacks to grab on the go, or to give to kids after school. There are also ideas for making snacking more fun, such as preparing food together. Not only will it hopefully take their mind off being hungry for a wee while, it's also a great way to get them trying something new.

Pear Crisps

Ready in 50 mins

Serves 4 for under £1.00

Fish Sticks & Dips

Ready in 30 mins

Serves 4 for under £3.00

Stuffed Celery Sticks

Ready in 5 mins

Serves 4 for under £3.00

Peanut Butter Dip with Apples

Ready in 5 mins

Serves 4 for under £1.00

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After school snack ideas

Fruit Tricks

  • Give your kids chunks of apple, melon, strawberries, grapes, whatever's in the kitchen. Look out for fruit that's in season, it's likely to be cheaper.
  • Serve it in a bowl as a fruit pick 'n' mix, or on a skewer as a fruit kebab.
  • Try giving them dried fruit, such as banana or pineapple. A small handful is about the right amount for kids.

Sweet Treats

  • For dessert, try low fat reduced sugar yoghurt or sugar free jelly.
  • Freeze a banana and mash it up. It's just like ice cream!
  • Pop some grapes in the freezer and cut into smaller pieces before serving - a great wee snack for cooling kids down.

Chips & Dips

  • Pitta and lower fat dips like salsa or reduced-fat hummus make a tasty snack.
  • Rice cakes go great with lower fat cream cheese and cucumber.
  • Try unsalted rice cakes, oatcakes or crackers topped with low fat cheddar.
  • Cucumber, carrot or pepper sticks with a low fat dip are easy to make and fun to eat.

Eat Better Feel Better's Snack Heroes

Meet the gang

Snack heroes

Frozen Yogi

Frozen Yogi is cool, calm and collected and can turn ordinary yogurt into a tasty icy snack in a flash. Sure to satisfy sweet tooths, this chilled low in sugar ice-cream alternative is cheap, quick and easy to make.

Frozen Yogi

Rita Rice Cake

Rita Rice Cake

Quick on her feet, Rita Rice Cake is a ninja warrior against hunger. She's a force to be reckoned with and the perfect match to other healthy heroes, both sweet and savoury. She makes a tasty snack at record-breaking speed.

Baznana

Baznana is quick and he's tough. A slippery character he's also full of goodness with a big heart. Always on hand for a quick pick-me-up, his special power is his speed.

Baznana

Axel Apple

Axel Apple

Complete with a shining, bright green coat, Axel will have you spellbound with his tangy but sweet nature. A bargain-buy that's packed with vitamin goodness, Axel Apple helps keep your energy levels high so the limit is the sky.

Poppin' Corn

Moving at super speed, you never know where Poppin' Corn might pop up. The ultimate time-saving snack that will have you kicking crisps to the kerb.

Poppin Corn

Smoothie advice

Fruit and veg should make up just over a third of our diet, which means eating at least 5 portions every day.

They can be fresh, frozen or tinned. Fruit juice or fruit smoothies do count towards your 5 a day, but you should only have one 150ml daily portion because they're higher in sugar than whole fruits and vegetables.

Snack attack - tips

We've come up with some quick, easy and affordable suggestions for tackling the snack challenge:

'Money-saving' snacks

Sometimes things branded as 'kiddy snacks' with bright colours and pictures can be more expensive, even though they're no different from adult versions. By reading the labels and checking the prices, you can save yourself some money. For example, don't bother with the little 'kid-sized' packs of raisins. Just buy a bigger packet and separate into smaller portions yourself! Own-brand items are often just as good as branded and much cheaper.

Control your portions

Because bigger sizes are cheaper and usually on offer, we often end up buying and eating much more than we need.

When kids ask for a snack, don't let them help themselves from the bag/packet. Give them just one biscuit and if they say they're still hungry, offer them fruit or plain popcorn. Instead of a whole bag of crisps, try putting just a handful from the bag in the bowl.

Check the labels

When your're out and about compare different products to find foods lower in fat, saturated fat, sugar and salt.

For a healthier choice, try to go for snacks with green and amber nutrition labels - avoid red as much as possible.

Think about the drink

Fizzy drinks make up a quarter of children's added sugar intake and should be the first thing to go from your child's daily diet. Why not try swapping fizzy juice for a sugar free version or move to a no-added sugar squash or lower-fat milk. Better yet, just give them water. Making the changes gradually over a few weeks will help your kids get used to having less sugar in their drinks.

Quench thirst first

Sometimes kids think they're hungry, but are actually thirsty, so make sure and offer them water regularly throughout the day.

Most of what we drink should be low sugar options such as water, lower fat milk or sugar free drinks. We need to drink 6-8 glasses every day.

Make healthy choices easier

If you have healthy snacks in the house your kids are more likely to eat them - keeping a bowl of fruit on the table can provide a quick nutritious snack when hunger strikes.

Snack swaps

For a simple way to cut back on sugar without the kids noticing, try a couple of the snack swaps each week and you'll soon have some healthy regular snacks to give your kids when they're hungry. You might even find some snack swaps to replace the unhealthy treats in your own diet!

Find a snack swap

Sugar: the facts

Kids love sweet stuff, so getting them to cut down on sugar can be tricky. Plus, with sugar hidden in so many everyday foods and drinks it can be hard to know what's healthy and what's not.

But sugar isn't just bad for kids' teeeth. In the long run, too much can lead to more serious issues like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. However, there are lots of easy ways to reduce the sugar in kids' diets - while still keeping them happy and healthy.

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