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  • Writer's pictureEmily Else

A Paediatric Dietitian’s Tips on Healthy Snacking for Children

A varied and balanced diet, including healthy snacks, enables children to get the critical nutrients needed for growth & development. These nutrients also support brain function, allowing for increased focus, concentration and learning.

People often worry that snacking is unhealthy and unnecessary, and think it means that children will eat less at mealtimes. This is not necessarily the case. Healthy mid-morning and afternoon snacks can even help regulate their appetites. Healthy snacking also provides energy for a child’s activities and essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins, minerals and fibre, which they may not get from three meals alone.

Unsure of what the best choices are for children’s snacks? Our paediatric dietitian, Emily Else, shares her top tips for healthy snacking.

Check food labels for packaged snacks

The nutritional labels on packaged foods can help us choose more nutritious snacks. Look out for the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt - generally, the best choices will be lower in these three categories. A quick way to spot these values is to look out for the traffic light labelling on the front of most packaged foods and drinks. The system uses red, amber and green colour coding to signal whether a product is high, medium or low in a specific category. Choose more green and amber-coloured foods while cutting down on reds. Although helpful, the traffic light system isn’t available for all packaged foods and drinks, so if you see an item that doesn't have it, keep your eye out for these values:

  • Fat content to be 3g or less per 100g.

  • Saturated Fat to be 1.5g or less per 100g.

  • Sugar content to be 5g or less per 100g.

  • Salt content to be 0.3g or less per 100g.

Choose snacks from the four main food groups

Choosing snacks from the four main food groups (fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy and carbohydrates) will help ensure snacks are balanced and satisfying while providing energy and essential nutrients. Below are some examples of nutritious snack ideas from the four main food groups and the benefits each can have.

Make snacks part of the daily routine

Consistent, regular eating times, including mid-morning and afternoon snacks, can help regulate your child's appetite by assisting them in knowing when to expect food. This is particularly helpful if you have a younger or fussy eater!

Prepare for the after-school hunger

Many children are hungry after school. To avoid raiding the cupboards, try having some healthy pre-prepared snacks ready. This can also help ensure that the snack is more balanced and filling. Choose from some of the previously mentioned options for a quick, nutritious, satisfying snack.

If you would like further help regarding your child’s diet or allergies, our paediatric dietitians, Emily Else and Anjanee Kohli, can help! Email us at with questions or if you need help booking an appointment through your insurance provider. You can also book an appointment online.


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