Parenting challenge - keeping "treats" as treats

I’m a nutritionist and I’m a mum. I have a beautiful 7-year old daughter. She has her father’s taste in food though. Well, you can’t have everything ☺.

She loves treats, just like every other child. No mung beans for breakfast in our house, I can tell you.

So, there you have it. Nutritionists are human too (you heard it here first). Just like every other parent on the island, I find it challenging to limit my child’s intake of "treat" food. My knowledge of healthy eating doesn’t always help, when treats are simply everywhere a child goes.  

Even if we only plan a "Friday night treat" each week, there are usually lots of opportunities and offers of more. By the time we’ve been down to granny and grandad’s and had an ice-cream for dessert during the week, a few jellies in front of the telly on Friday night, a birthday party on Saturday and a bun out and about on Sunday, we’ve already eaten the maximum recommended amount of treats for kids. And that’s not including any sugary drinks.

At the moment, around 20%, or a fifth, on average of children’s total calorie intake typically comes from treat foods such as crisps, biscuits, chocolate and sweets. Those are foods that are high in sugar, fat or salt, but low in nutrients.

The amount of treats kids eat a week

In contrast, the recommendation is that we only eat small amounts, and not every day.

The amount of treats kids should eat

If you think your child’s intake of treats looks more like the first picture than the second, it might be time to start thinking about making some changes, and we can help with that.   

You’ll find healthier snack ideas on our Pinterest board.

Pop back and let us know how you get on.


Posted: 27/08/2015 15:02:36 by Aileen McGloin
Filed under: Campaigns, Childhood obesity, Sugary drinks, Treats

About Me

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Aileen McGloin
Hi, my name is Aileen McGloin and I am the Director of Marketing and Communications, at safefood. I trained as a public health nutritionist originally and am passionate about changing food-related behaviour. I have a particular interest in using digital technology to promote health. At home, I love books, am in a book club and married to a crime writer. I’m a fiend for all things fashion and like walking, swimming and TV that is so bad it’s good. I live in Co. Wicklow with my husband and 10 year old daughter.