REVEALED! HIDDEN SUGAR IN KIDS’ SNACKS
Better choices for lunch boxes
Packing school lunches can be stressful, especially when you’re short on time. Packaged snacks are convenient and kids love them, but with a minefield of options to choose from, finding healthy products can feel like you’re panning for gold. Here are some ways to avoid the sugar traps.
• BE SNACK WISE Consumer advocacy group CHOICE recently calculated the Health Star Rating for more than 260 kids’ snacks and found just three products scored the top rating of five health stars.
This confirms why the Australian Dietary Guidelines say processed snacks are not a necessary part of our kids’ diets for good health, and suggest they be included ‘sometimes’, not ‘every day’.
• REAL FRUIT OR TOOTH ACHE? Snacks with claims like ‘made with real fruit’, ‘100% fruit’ and ‘65% fruit juice’ imply they’re nutritionally similar to whole fruit, but the ingredients lists tell another story.
Products with a small percentage of fruit have long lists of ingredients, such as fruit juice concentrate or fruit purée, which are just another form of added sugar, according to the World Health Organization. You might also see thickeners, colours and preservatives. And dentists warn that dried fruit, and fruit straps and leathers can stick to teeth and cause decay.
• BEWARE OF ‘HEALTH’ CLAIMS Treats labelled ‘sugar free’ may look like a good choice, but they might not live up to their health halo. If they use agave nectar, rice malt syrup or maple syrup, give them the flick. These are still forms of sugar and can contribute to weight gain and dental caries, while other ‘sugar-free’ products are artificially sweetened.
Out of more than 260 kids’ snacks, just three scored five health stars
Tamar Valley Kids Tropical All Natural Greek Yoghurt 4.0g sugar per pouch
Arnott’s Tiny Teddy Spotty Dog Snack Packs 6.1g sugar per snack pack