Your child’s body is growing and developing all the time – right in front of your eyes it may seem! The food they eat plays a huge role in their development, so help them along by giving them a wide variety of nutritious foods. 

Remember that it’s ok for your child to have treats like sweets, chocolate or crisps now and then. Just try to keep them as an occasional treat, and watch the portion sizes.


Kids are highly energetic but they only have small stomachs, so it’s natural for them to need snacks between meals. Offering them a variety of nutritious snacks throughout the day means they’ll get all the energy and nutrients they need.

‘At home’ snack ideas

  • Chop up some carrot, celery and cucumber sticks to dip into hummus or natural yoghurt
  • Cherry tomatoes are a big favourite with younger kids. Try pairing them with small triangles of cheese
  • Let them make their own cheese on crackers. Top with some raw peppers or cucumber for an extra bite
  • Unsweetened breakfast cereal with milk or yoghurt makes a great ‘anytime’ snack - especially when topped with their favourite chopped fruit or berries
  • On cooler days, heat up some scones and serve them with spread for a warming treat
  • Give them a pot of yoghurt or fromage frais for a dairy boost
  • For children over five, a small handful of nuts or seeds with a glass of milk makes a very wholesome snack
  • Let them pop some wholegrain bread in the toaster and top it with sliced banana or peanut butter (or both!)
  • A bowl of homemade vegetable soup is a great way to satisfy hungry kids and get those veggies in!
  • Try keeping a bowl of chopped up fruit or veg in the fridge that they can help themselves to after school
  • Homemade popcorn makes a great snack too – just don’t add any salt for children

‘On the move’ snack ideas

  • Keep small bags of homemade popcorn, wholegrain crackers or fruit that doesn’t spoil easily (like apples) in your bag or the car if you’re heading straight to after-school activities
  • Bring along mini cartons of milk or bottles of water for them to drink 
  • In cafes, milk and water are the best drinks for your child. Unsweetened fruit juice is fine if they have it with a meal. Give them toasted sandwiches, scones or fruit to eat rather than cakes or biscuits
  • Try not to allow your child a treat like chocolate, sweets or crisps each time you stop at a shop - it can be a hard habit to break. Offer them fruit instead

Of course, your kids will want some of the less healthy treat foods from time to time too. And at occasions like birthday parties you may want to allow them a little more than normal. 

It’s best not to take the hard approach of banishing treats completely from your cupboard as this tends to make children want them more. Instead, keep treat foods out of your children’s reach, offer them just once in a while, and give sensible portions to your child.

Healthy Drinks

Schoolboy eating a sandwich in the playground

Children need to drink plenty of fluids regularly throughout the day. The amount needed depends on how active they are and how warm it is. On average they need about 8 glasses each day.

Water and milk are the most tooth-friendly drinks for children. They are suitable between meals and with meals.

Choose unsweetened fruit juice instead of sweetened fruit juices and juice drinks that are higher in sugar. Avoid tooth decay by drinking juice with meals and for younger children, ideally dilute one part jiuce to 10 parts water.

Healthy lunchboxes

Want to know what goes into a healthy lunchbox? The possibilities are endless! Our tips, leaflet and lunchbox planner will help you and your kids pack a tasty, nutritious lunchbox together each day of the week!