Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are You Giving Your Kids Filling Snacks?

Another great little study by Brian Wansink and crew - this one looking at children's snacking, calorie consumption and satiety depending on the type of snacks they were offered.

201 3rd-6th graders were randomly assigned to receive one of four different snacks: 1. Potato chips. 2. Cheese. 3. Vegetables. 4. Cheese and vegetables. Simulating many homes, the kids were allowed to eat as much of their assigned snack while watching a 45 minute television program. Perceived fullness was measured before, midway through and after the 45 minutes.

While not at all surprising, the findings were dramatic enough that I felt they'd be worth sharing. Kids who ate the veggies and cheese consumed 72% fewer calories than those consuming the potato chips and kids who had overweight or obesity to begin with - 76% less.

Personally I'm all for kids snacking - but as this study dramatically demonstrates, the type of snack you're offering matters a great deal.

Here's Dr. Wansink



Bookmark and Share

20 comments:

  1. Anonymous8:41 am

    While I love the idea and agree don't give your kids Babybel. I used to give these as snacks all the time but since going paleo, I stopped eating them myself. The other day, I ate one and it tasted like plastic. I recommend a good quality cheese maybe goat cheese:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Healthy snacks are one of the best ways you can improve your child's overall diet, so I like any study that convinces parents to be more selective when choosing snacks!

    On the Healthy Kids' Child Wellness and Weight Management Program we teach parents to combine a complex carbohydrate (like fruit or veggies) with a protein (like low fat dairy, nut butters, nut, seeds). As the study shows, this combination satisfies and promotes healthy portion size.

    Dr. Gardner
    www.healthykidscompany.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is an interesting study, and also not a novel one. Having recently completed a research project in the area of satiation in children, I can say there are many snacks that reduce both food intake and calorie intake. While I think looking at Dr.Wansink's study to determine what we provide as snacks to children may be successful, the mechanisms associated with these differences in satiation are not yet fully known, and so we should take precaution when making bold statements about optimal snacking. That being said, I agree that vegetables and cheese is a much better snack than potato chips.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am confused by how they did the satiety ratings. I understand that cheese alone was about the same calorie-wise as cheese + veggies, but I'm not sure what the argument might be against just veggies. Was the satiety significantly less for just veggies?

    That said, I know fruit or veggies PLUS protein works better as a snack for me personally in terms of overall well-being.

    ReplyDelete
  6. while watching TV? No bueno... I'm surprised because mindfullness while dining/eating is another area of research for Dr. Wansink.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous3:22 pm

      "Simulating many homes, the kids were allowed to eat as much of their assigned snack while watching a 45 minute television program."

      True that it's no bueno, but it does happen a lot.

      Delete
  7. I grew-up in a culture which believed that giving snacks between meals was the equivalent of a child-spoiling, from the same category as giving sweets instead of normal food, so I tried to keep snacking to minimal while rising my son. Usually he ate several spoons of sour-cream from a big container or grabbed some cheese or cold-cuts from a refrigerator if hungry on his own. I didn't keep cookies, sweet drinks or chips at home because then he would find it, gorge, and refuse to eat at meal time. So, just having a child who preferably wanted to eat junk turned me into sort-of into paleo-movement person way before I had a chance to read about it.
    I was not a paleo-diet follower then, but from the practical point of view, the only way to avoid snacking was giving your child a high-fat foods ,which I did. I guess it goes without saying that my son grew-up thin and without cavities.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous1:24 pm

    Dr Y, I'd love you to comment on how children in grade school are being forced to eat only fruit or veggies for lunch because ONE child has sensitivities to EGG, DAIRY and Nuts. Essentially children are left unable to adequately get protein which they also need.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous2:02 pm

      What about a piece of chicken?

      Delete
    2. I have zero issue with school restrictions consequent to allergy though I do agree it often makes things challenging (one of our kids' class had no eggs, fish or nuts at one point). Here we're not talking about a rash, we're talking about potentially fatal anaphylaxis and grade school kids aren't particularly trust worthy regarding cleanliness or sharing.

      Delete
    3. Anonymous3:13 pm

      You've had the experience then, so... any good ideas for protein? No egg, dairy or nuts eliminates dips for veggies (that I know of). My girl loves fruit, but one cannot live on fruit alone. We will try to ensure protein for breakfast, that said, any ideas that don't over fruit/sugar our kids?

      Delete
    4. Anonymous3:21 pm

      Bean dip?

      Delete
    5. Bean dip contains mostly carbohydrates. If dairy and nuts are not allowed, the next option would be deli meats.

      Delete
    6. Anonymous10:02 pm

      Hummus is good for veggie dip. Lentils, beans, seeds, and some types of pasta (whole wheat or chickpea) can also be good sources of protein for school lunches!

      Delete
    7. Anonymous10:45 am

      Why does it have to be deli meat? Why not leftover chicken breasts cut up and cubed or strips of beef in a wrap.

      Delete
  9. Anonymous2:12 pm

    Unless it's spice free, boiled essentially with nothing on it, I guess so. Don't know how many kids would actually eat that. Never mind processed meats either, as they can't be guaranteed to be made in a dairy/egg/peanut free factory.

    ReplyDelete
  10. What about the vegetables-only snack? From the figures in the paper (I didn't read the whole thing), it seems to be even better. Why not suggest that?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous6:09 pm

    Deli meats are so high in salt. One manufacturer has lean ham... I guess it's going to have to be mustard, ham, and low sugar fruits.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing wrong with salt and fat especially when cold cuts are eaten with something else like veggies or fruits. A lot of vitamins need fat to get adsorbed.

      Delete