Preparing snacks for children or providing recommendations to those who do? A new study reported in the journal “Pediatrics” might provide one more reason to offer nutrient-rich choices from more than one food group at snack time. According to Brian Wansink, PhD, of Cornell University and colleagues, nutrient-rich snacks such as vegetables and cheese can help take the edge off children’s between-meal hunger, and also may help children consume fewer calories overall.
The study measured the snack consumption of approximately 200 kids entering the third to sixth grades who were given either chips, cheese, vegetables or a combination of vegetables and cheese, and allowed to snack freely while watching television. Results showed that those given a combination vegetable and cheese snack consumed significantly fewer calories before feeling satisfied (53 calories) than those who were served potato chips (282.4 calories) – a difference of more than 200 calories in just one sitting!
Furthermore, the study found that the effects of snacking on caloric intake were more pronounced in those who were overweight, obese or from low-involvement families. The overweight or obese children ate 16 percent fewer calories (76 percent versus 60 percent) and the children from low-involvement families ate 10 percent fewer than those in the chip condition.
As multiple stakeholders work to help improve child health and wellness and decrease obesity rates in the United States, smart snacking solutions that offer nutritional value for fewer calories, such as cheese and vegetables, should be part the recommendation. Read more on MedPage Today.