At this very moment, approximately 1 in 4 Irish primary school children is overweight or obese.   That’s why safefood is urging parents to say no to sweets, biscuits and crisps every day. 
At present 20% of children’s daily calorie intake is from treats foods that provide little nourishment. This means that on average, a child typically consumes over 16kgs of treat foods per year – the equivalent of 140 small chocolate bars, 105 tubes of sweets, 36 packets of jam filled biscuits and 118 bags of crisps. And that doesn’t include foods like ice cream, cakes, pastries, buns and puddings that a child would typically eat.
For parents who want to start tackling their own child’s treat intake here are safefood’s top tips.
  1. Cut down on treat foods, but don’t ban them. Banning them can make them more appealing.
  2. When shopping is – just buy treats sometimes and don’t have a supply at home. If they’re not in the house, they can’t be eaten.
  3. Keep the sweets’ cupboard or cookie jar out of sight – and out of mind.
  4. Tell family and friends you’re making changes so they know about the new routine – try and make sure grannies aren’t handing out treats when babysitting.
  5. When you have sugary foods, try to eat them with a meal. It’s better for their teeth and means they won’t fill up on treats between meals.
  6. Say the kitchen is closed when mealtimes are over, but allow them access to fruit, chopped vegetables and water and then send them off to play
  7. In the long run, it’s kinder to say no – don’t be afraid to say it!
  8. Praise them and offer non-food treats, like a game of football, a trip to the playground or something to do or play at home.
  9. Limit the amount of treats by:
  • Getting into the habit of having them occasionally
  • Keeping portions small – choose mini or snack versions
  • Offering healthy alternatives, such as water instead of sugary drinks or juice and fruit instead of sweets or chocolate.