Families will be encouraged to make healthier shopping choices as part of an updated Government app.

The new feature on the NHS Food Scanner app will allow families to scan selected shopping items and suggest alternatives with less saturated fat, sugar or salt.

As part of the Better Health campaign, the updated app will also show a "Good Choice" badge for items which could help improve their diet. 

It comes after a record rise in obesity among 10 to 11 year-olds as statistics show parents have increasingly been giving unhealthy snacks to their children since the start of the pandemic.

Banbury Cake: A Netmums family testing the app in a new film supporting a campaign to help families eat better (PA)A Netmums family testing the app in a new film supporting a campaign to help families eat better (PA)

Data from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) suggests one in four children of reception school age are overweight or obese and this rises to four in 10 in Year 6.

Girls Aloud singer, Nadine Coyle, who has backed the campaign alongside dietician Dr Linia Patel, said: “As a busy working mum, I find it hard to say no to my kid’s demands and often give in to snack pressure – even though I know it’s not that good for them.

“I had no idea some foods were so high in sugar, saturated fat and salt – so it’s great that the app gives you alternatives.”

Banbury Cake: Former Girls Aloud member Nadine Coyle, dietician Dr Linia Patel and a Netmums family testing the app in a new film supporting a campaign to help families eat better (PA)Former Girls Aloud member Nadine Coyle, dietician Dr Linia Patel and a Netmums family testing the app in a new film supporting a campaign to help families eat better (PA)

Public health minister, Maggie Throup, recognised the “pressure” faced by families throughout the pandemic and said dietary habits had “drastically changed” as a result.

“The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make,” she said.

How can I download the app?

The app is available free to download on iPhone and Android phone.

You can download it from your app store by searching 'NHS Food Scanner'. 

The latest edition of the Food Scanner app has new features that can tell you how much sugar is in your fizzy drink or salt is in your sauce.

The Food Scanner is designed to help families make healthier food and drink choices.

You can also search 'Change4Life' to discover a whole range of ideas to help you make better lifestyle choices.