Healthy snack SOS!

How to keep snacks healthy, even on days out.

As part of ‘Health Kick’, our healthy families month, we are offering parents advice and tips on ways to get healthier as a family.

In this blog post we take a look at junk food danger times, when unhealthy snacks and fast food may be hard to avoid, such as family days out.


Every parent wants their child to eat healthily, but even with the best intentions sometimes it can prove difficult - especially if you have a schedule packed with fun!

From a trip to the cinema, to family days out and long car journeys, there are a number of situations where you may find yourself tempted to reach for those high fat, high sugar foods.

When faced with rows of confectionary, nothing but fast food outlets and ‘pester power’ from the kids, it could prove difficult to resist even for the most resolute of parents!

But the good news is you can get through these ‘danger times’ with a little forward thinking – and in many cases save your bank balance as well as keeping your little ones healthy!

What are the junk food danger times?

The first step is recognising those danger times. How many of these situations have you faced?

  • Cinema trips – who can resist the bright lights of the confectionary counter, ice creams and pick’n’mix?

  • After school snack – the kids get back from school and want something the second they walk in the door, it’s all too tempting to reach for the biscuit tin

  • Days out – lunch time arrives while you’re out and about but there’s nothing but fast food outlets

  • Car journeys and service stations – desperate to keep them distracted a quick stop at the services with their sweets, drinks and fast food can suddenly seem very appealing

  • Theme park visits – from burgers and chips to candy floss, sweets and fizzy drinks, it can be a calorie-filled ride

  • Birthday parties – whether you have 5 or 20 children attending, the table could easily fill with crisps, cakes and other goodies

Getting prepared

The best way to breeze through these times is to be prepared. To help you we have compiled a list of quick and easy snacks, which can be used for almost any of these occasions, as a healthy alternative - whilst still being super tasty!

Homemade popcorn – Fun to make and fun to eat! What’s not to love as a healthy alternative to crisps? Popcorn can easily be made at home, either in the microwave or saucepan, and the kids will love listening and watching as each little corn explodes. This tasty treat can still be delicious without the traditional sugar or butter. Great for: Birthday Parties, Cinema trips, After School snacks.

Fruit & Vegetable bites – Carrot, cucumber, celery, pepper and anything else you fancy, along with berries and grapes, are great when you’re on the go or as an addition to your child’s lunch box. It’s an easy way to add extra fruit and vegetables into your child’s diet. To make it a little more exciting why not add a little houmous or cottage cheese for dipping. Great for: Birthday Parties, After School, Picnics/Days Out, Lunch Box, Car Journeys. 

Trail Mix – Nuts and dried fruit are another healthy snack option which is filling and releases energy for your child. Mix nuts, seeds and dried fruit such as raisins and cranberries can give your child a healthy and sweet treat. Great for: Lunch Box, Car Journeys, Picnics/Days Out, Cinema, After School. 

Taste the Rainbow – How many different coloured fruits and vegetables can your child eat in one day? Make it a competition for the whole family to take part in and reap the rewards which each different food gives you. Turning this into a game will help encourage fussier or less adventurous eaters to discover new foods they might not usually eat, such as blueberries or gooseberries. Great for: Lunch Boxes, After School, Picnics/Days Out, Car Journeys.

You will find more helpful hints and tips on our Facebook page and remember to share your own hints and tips to help inspire other parents.

You may be surprised to learn that you can use childcare vouchers towards the cost of days out, with vouchers covering a range of registered childcare including some of the top child activity centres - and it’s not just for toddlers, the vouchers can be used for children up to the age of 16. For more details, visit