Are Too Many Snacks Turning Kids Into Picky Eaters?

YES!  Too many snacks snacking is a big factor why 1 and 3 children in this country are obese  and not as healthy as they used to be.

In addition, this constant snacking obsession that our society has adopted is  actually TRAINING  our kids to be picky eaters and to NOT eat real, quality food at regular meal times.

A study at Yale showed that high calorie snacking is a major cause of childhood obesity.

Mom’s consult with other moms on what snacks to bring. Diaper bags are loaded with “emergency snacks”. Kids are given snacks, and backup snacks “just in case” they get hungry.

Every sports game or play date has to include a snack because it is unimaginable to let kids go home from an event without a nibble and eat dinner when they are truly hungry. Everyone is ripping open a package of some sort to give their child some food!

Even fast food restaurants are jumping on the 64 billion dollar bandwagon with “snack-able food” items on the menu growing 170%.

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The United States has truly gone nuts over giving our kids snacks!

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, children today are eating  3 snacks a day which equates to an average of 200 more calories a day from snacks than they did in the 70s. Many kids eat 600-700 calories in snacks according to many  studies.

A study done by the University of North Carolina surveyed more than 300,000 children a day with their snacking habits.

The study concluded that these children on average snacked 3 times a day on junk foods like crackers and candy, and these snacks added almost 600 calories a day to their diet. This totaled 27 percent of their overall daily intake.

Good Morning America followed a family on camera for a weekend. The snacks the two boys grabbed were chocolate pudding, bagels with butter, (439 calories) string cheese, graham crackers, goldfish crackers, and cookies.

It’s amazing. It’s no wonder why so many parents feels their kids are picky eaters and don’t want to eat dinner. If you ate that many snacks, how much dinner would you eat?

If a food is portable, requires no food preparation, is 100% processed, is loaded with chemicals, sugar and salt, has an ingredient list of over 15 long scientific names, then that is what our kid’s are eating 3 times a day as a “snack”!

What Are The Most Common Junk food Snacks That Kids Commonly Eat?

A study was done from 2005-2008 which detailed the type of snack that was given to 6-13 year old kids over a 2 day span.

  • Chocolate candy
  • Cookies
  • Corn chips
  • Crackers
  • Cupcakes
  • Ice cream
  • Donuts
  • Fruit Rolls (Loaded with sugar and common at preschool)
  • Graham crackers (Loaded with sugar)
  • Granola bars (most of these are just like candy bars)
  • Popsicle
  • Pretzels

The study suggested that if parents replace even one of these snacks with a healthier alternative like an apple, applesauce (without sugar), bananas, or carrots etc… significant calories could be cut, the health impact would be meaningful, and child obesity would be greatly helped.

Lets see……….3 crackers can have anywhere between 90 and 160 calories. There are no nutrients, often contain sugar, salt and act as a filler so your child isn’t hungry when you serve dinner.

Try an apple or some celery sticks. Or just try taking away a snack in the day and watch how picky eating problems go away and your children start eating more quality foods.

Perhaps we should do like the French, and only have 1 snack a day. Enjoy our meals, companionship and the beautiful feeling of satisfying a healthy empty stomach.