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How to keep snack time healthy

Tackling our children's sweet teeth requires planning, stealth and control. If they are going out, pack them something tasty and they may be less likely to veer into the sweet shop.

Apples and bananas may not hit the spot, but a smoothie may fare better -- A two-finger KitKat with 116 calories may stop them choosing, say, a Snickers bar with 296. Alternatively, try a Cadbury's Milk Chocolate Freddo with only 95 calories.

Back at home, to give children a savoury kick, try a slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter. It is filling (making them less likely to demand further snacks) and provides body-building protein, iron for energy and fibre for healthy digestion. Having bite-size chicken satays and Babybel cheeses to hand may also hit the spot.

When it comes to sweet things, try drizzling melted chocolate over a bowl of chopped, dried apricots or grate some chocolate over a bowl of low-fat custard (yes, it sounds odd but it actually tastes great). That way they'll get a bit of chocolate but with nutrients and a fraction of the calories, fat and saturated fat of chocolate biscuits.

Small chunks of really sweet fruits can also work. Try pineapple, mango and papaya. Homemade jellies are also worth a go. Apple juice jellies with seedless black grapes and orange juice jellies with raspberries look and taste good. Calcium-rich fruit yoghurt lollies, which you make by pouring a yoghurt smoothie into ice lolly moulds and then freezing, can be a hit as well.

Clear out stashes of "junk treats" and most children will try these alternatives out of desperation. >Amanda Ursell


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