Healthier snacks will be promoted to parents and children under the latest strand of the government's Change4Life campaign.
The Public Health England campaign encourages parents to look out for '100 calorie snacks, two a day max', to encourage them to make a switch that will help their children's diets, with several supermarkets signed up to support the initiative.
The new push comes on the back of alarming figures showing that half of children's sugar intake - which is currently around seven sugar cubes a day - comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks. That is leading to obesity and dental decay.
Kids on average eat at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming four or more. The overall result is that children consume three times more sugar than is recommended.
Tesco will help parents - in store and online - choose affordable, healthier snacks that are 100 calories or less, while the Co-op will also provide tasty and healthy snacking products, making it easier for customers to make healthier choices on the go.
Parents can also get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower-sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.
The ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their 5 A Day.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned. To make it easier for busy families, we’ve developed a simple rule of thumb to help them move towards healthier snacking – look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max."
PHE’s updated Change4Life ‘Food Scanner’ app also shows parents how many calories, sugar, salt and saturated fat is in their food to help make healthier choices easier. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.
PHE is working with the food industry to cut 20 per cent of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, with work to reduce calories due to start in 2018. That's on the back of figures showing a third of children leave primary school overweight or obese.