Children and Snacks

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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Young children are consuming way too many calories from snacks, which is probably a big contributor to the growing childhood obesity problem. Since many prepackaged high caloriesnacks are readily available for parents to hand out to a hungry child, parents are not paying close attention to the amount of calories their children are getting from these snacks. About 25% of the daily calories an average child eats come from snacks, compared to 20% a generation ago. By allowing this to happen, parents are setting their children up for health problems like overweight and obesity later in life, since overweight children tend to become overweight adults. One way to make sure children are getting the right snacks in the right amount is to distinguish between a "snack" and a "treat". A snack should be something healthy with plenty of vitamins, like fruits or vegetables, given when kids get hungry between meals.

A treat is a sweet or salty food high in calories that should only be given in moderation, such as a special occasion. To make nutritious snacks more appealing to children, parents should try serving fruits and vegetables in a creative way, and keeping them readily available. The more familiar kids become with these healthy foods, the more likely they will be to eat them. Also, parents should avoid giving snacks when a child is bored or upset. Although it will keep the child quiet for the time being, it can lead to bad eating habits later. One more thing a parent can do is learn how to read nutrition labels on foods and how they relate to the child's diet. Parents can start their children out with good snacking habits,or change old snacking habits into good ones by setting up a...