3 Children eating strawberries

Be What You Eat

Junk food is junk, say kids

Do kids really want sweet and sugary confections over a humble piece of fruit or yogurt? Surprisingly, the kids we asked¹ said ‘no!’ 

That’s right, it turns out that when given the choice, most children will choose a more wholesome and healthier snack. 

This is great news in light of our additional findings that suggest parents and kids alike are unaware of just how much sugar is in popular snacks and sweets. In fact, over half of all surveyed parents admitted to not being on top of how much sugar their child consumes! 


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We did science

We set up a behavioural experiment with kids aged 6-10, where we asked them to complete a series of tasks to figure out their preferences for snacks. Amazingly, simple foods such as strawberries, apples, and grapes came out on top compared with more artificial confections, with 8 out of 10 participants going for the healthier options. 

What fraught parent isn’t guilty of using the odd sugary snack to negotiate with their kids, but this study can hopefully offer some encouragement that kids are just as happy to chomp down on fresh fruit and carrot sticks as they are on crisps and cakes.

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What the experts say

Here’s what our Arla Explorers spokesperson and registered nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert, had to say:

“Providing kids with healthy and tasty snacks can sometimes be a minefield and we often make the assumption that their preference is for sugar. As we’ve seen from the Arla Explorers experiment and research, this isn’t always the case.

“Parents should be thinking about replacing some of the unhealthier snacks with foods high in fibre such as fresh fruit. Something like the Arla Explorers range is great as it’s packed with naturally sourced ingredients and contains reduced sugar.”

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In a funk about junk

As a kid probably once said, kids are smarter than you think. Children are more aware than ever, and over half of those surveyed understand that too much sugar is unhealthy, without having adults nagging them. Two-thirds went a step further down the science route and agreed that sugar was damaging for their teeth. More impressive yet, in the experiment, well over a quarter of kids went for a healthier option because they knew it was good for them.

So if there’s anything that our study shows, letting kids choose more of their own snacks can be the way to go. Nice work, kids.

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¹ Arla Explorers behavioural experiment conducted with 10 children aged 6-10 and commissioned research polling 1000 parents and 1000 children aged 6-11 via OnePoll

² Commissioned research polling 1000 parents and 1000 children aged 6-11 via OnePoll

³ Based on Public Health England’s recommended maximum daily intake of 5 cubes (19g) for a 4-6 year old, and 6 cubes (24g) for 7-10 year old - https://www.nhs.uk/change4life/food-facts/sugar

⁴ Contains only naturally sourced ingredients. Protein is needed for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass

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