How much do your kids snack? Do they tend to go for fruit and veg, when it’s on offer, or are sweets and chocolate their preferred option?
Every child is different, and every parent is too. There are no hard and fast right or wrong approaches when it comes to raising healthy kids, but I know that many parents worry that their kids might be getting too much sugar in their daily diet. But what do kids think?
Well, Arla Explorers commissioned some research into children’s eating habits, polling 1000 adults and 1000 children. The study looked specifically at children’s sugar consumption and food preferences and the results might surprise you.
First up, sugar consumption. The Arla Explorers research found that kids consume an average of 5,738 sugar cubes a year.
So, where is the sugar coming from? Well, the study found that children consume 156 cans of fizzy drink, 208 bags of sweets and 260 biscuits every year – adding up to the equivalent of nearly 23,000g of sugar.
In addition, the average 6 to 11-year-old will, the study suggests, also eat 208 chocolate bars and 260 packets of crisps. This all adds up to around 63g of sugar a day, which is well above the maximum recommended daily intake of 24g (6 sugar cubes) a day for a child aged 7 to 10.
Now, in sharing these stats, I’m certainly not looking to cause alarm or guilt. The last thing a parent wants is to have a finger wagged at them when they’re undoubtedly doing their best. I’m a big believer in being informed, and sometimes, we can be tripped up by foods we simply don’t realise contain quite so much sugar.
In fact, in the Arla Explorers study, over half of parents reported being unsure how much sugar their child consumes, and the average parent estimating their child consumes just 20 grams a day.
So what do children think about all this? Well, when Arla Explorers conducted a behavioural experiment, they placed various food items in front of children and asked them to guess how much sugar was in them, most children significantly underestimated. Children were stunned to realise a fizzy drink contains as much as 10 cubes of sugar, with most believing it was five.
Hilariously, when I asked our 8-year-old, J, to do this experiment she massively OVER estimated how much sugar was in a fizzy drink. I suspect that’s because she’s more of a milk fan!
Next, children were allowed to grab a snack and presented with two tables – one full of less healthy snacks and sugary treats and the other filled with nutritious foods such as fruit and veg.
Perhaps surprisingly, simple foods such as strawberry, apple and grapes came out on top, with eight out of ten participants choosing healthier snacks when given the choice. Of course, they had just been shown how much sugar was certain foods, which might have informed their decision, but it does show that children are willing and able to make healthy choices.
Overall, I think that the Arla Explorers study shows that kids do like simple and natural foods that are good for them, they do understand that too much sugar isn’t a good idea, so we just need to make nutritious options readily available.
Arla Explorers is a new collection of reduced sugar yogurts - at least 30% less sugar than other products on the market - that should make parents and kids happy. They come in three varieties: Swirl Me, Bubble and Squeeze.
The Swirl Me pots have a layer of fruity yogurt at the bottom, with another flavour on top so that kids can swirl them together to create a new shade. They contain naturally sourced ingredients and reduced sugar (at least 30% less sugar than other products on the market) and come in Raspberry + Mango or Apple + Blueberry flavour.
Meanwhile, Bubble has little fruit juice bubbles (like jelly orbs) stirred into the yogurt, which melt in the mouth and make for a brilliant texture and taste experience. J absolutely adores them and has decreed them the “best yogurts ever”. The Bubble variety is reduced sugar and comes in Strawberry or Peach flavour.
Finally, the Squeeze Me yogurts come in pouches and can be stored safely at room temperature, so they’re great to carry as a snack option when you’re out and about, or to pop in lunch boxes. Squeeze Me pouches are no added sugar and come in Strawberry or Mango flavour.
All Arla Explorers products in the range contain naturally sourced ingredients and at least 30 per cent less sugar than other products on the market.
Arla Explorers provides kids and parents with a fun and nutritious dairy snacking option. They contain calcium, which is important for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth and protein, which contributes to the maintenance of muscle mass.
Arla Explorers is available now at Tesco, Morrisons and Asda.
To watch the full experiment and find out more about the range, head over to the Arla Explorers website: https://arlafoods.co.uk/brands/arla-explorers/be-what-you-eat/