Getting kids to make healthy food choices can be hard for parents who have limited time to persuade them.
Nutritionist and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin says with one in four children either overweight or obese, it's vital to let kids know what foods help them grow strong and healthy as early as possible.
"We can't just put the onus on parents," she says.
Bingley-Pullin says there needs to be more emphasis in schools on what foods are the best for kids.
"I think it has definitely improved ... [with the] amber, green or red lighting system in tuck shops - that's a great start but it still needs to improve."
As part of a school resource program for Australian Avocados, Bingley-Pullin recently made a nutritional analysis of eight popular children's snack categories and found most contain hidden sugars and are high in saturated fat.
She says parents may be selecting the snacks - including yoghurts, rolled fruit and puffed rice treats - unaware that they also contain additives and preservatives.
The resource program that has been rolled out in childcare centres, Eating my Colourful Vegies and Fruit, has won praise from Bingley-Pullin for engaging youngsters on several levels.
"We had them cooking some little avocado treats and just to see how they looked to the fruit, looked at what was on the table, associated the colour and you could just see their brains working."
Bingley-Pullin says parents should get off to a good start, if they want their kids to eat healthy foods.
"If you're giving them white bread to begin with they're going to stay with white bread and it's going to be very hard to transition them over to wholemeal and multigrain."
She's also wary of associating sweet foods with treats.
"Because we're all very busy we tend to bribe kids with food nowadays," she says.
"It is important for kids to know that there are some foods that we just have to eat, that make us big and strong and healthy and give us great energy, and we have to eat them regularly."
Bingley-Pullin also urges parents to challenge their children's tastebuds by using different textures and temperatures.
"We know that the senses are what actually drive food choices.
"It's just really trying to ignite those senses so that they are educated on so much more than a visual point of view."
She is adamant kids should be vocal about their likes and dislikes - after they've sampled the new tastes a few times.
"The thing is, kids don't know what they do and don't like until they've actually tried something," she says.
She warns parents that new tastes might take a while to get used to, but children eventually adapt.AAP