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Healthy Snacks For Kids 2010-01-22 12:30:00

Are You Nutritionally More Lenient With Snacks Than Meals?

"Mommy, I'm hungry!" Even an hour after having breakfast or lunch, lil ones' stomachs seem to find a way to ask for more food. A handful of goldfish crackers here and pack of graham crackers there, snacking has become big business. In the food section of yesterday's New York Times, a reporter took a look at the endless snacking that goes on with her own children and their classmates. She found:

Between 1977 and 2002, the percent of the American population eating three or more snacks a day increased to 42 percent from 11 percent, according to a large study of American nutritional habits conducted by the Agriculture Department with the Department of Health and Human Services.

While we may work overtime to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, with only the freshest organic ingredients, when it comes to snack time, many mamas seem to grab whatever they can to appease their tots' hunger tantrums, even if it means cookies, cakes and candy-like treats.

What is especially baffling where I live, in Los Angeles, is how often the kind of parental paranoia that obsesses about school ratings, vaccines and myriad imagined plagues is matched by utter disregard for the nutritional downsides of mowing down Fruit by the Foot every afternoon at 4. Rarely do I see a parent show up on the soccer field with a homemade snack, or even a bag of carrots.

Are you as careful with the snacks you give your kids as you are with their meals?

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MissSushi MissSushi 6 years
Our snacks are just as healthy. Seems just as easy to me to offer fruit or veggies as it is to hand over some other snack. I don't ban anything, but they are occasional treats, not something we have every day. Its much easier just to not buy the bad stuff, if its not there, you can't eat it. I think the processed 99.9% chemical foods are the reason for our soaring obesity rates. She's older now, and wants more sophisticated meals, so i'm widening my cooking knowledge every day so i can cook everything from scratch. The baked goods are my last hurdle, so far.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
There is a huge health emphasis in my household. Snacks are just as healthy as meals, and if I don't have time to pack a healthy snack, we get granola bars and trail mix at the gas station. Every once in a while we eat cheeseburgers, but it's a special treat, NOT a regular thing.
FrankiLee FrankiLee 6 years
Definitely as careful with snacks as I am with her mealtime. I've always wanted my daughter to enjoy REAL food, not processed stuff. She gets fruit, snacks that are homemade, and even veggies (like carrots, edamame etc.) for snack time. I am not all about totally denying them of fun snacks -- once in a blue moon she will get a treat (like a doughnut from the coffee shop or something like that), but the majority of the time she eats very healthy snacks. With the way illnesses and childhood obesity has risen in the past few years, I want to help her make the healthiest food choices possible to help her maintain her health now and in the future.
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