Healthy Snacks More Satisfying for Children

iStock_000016982306-cropped-for-WP“I want a snack!”

“Can I have a treat?”

If you’re a parent you’ve heard every combination of the plea for some form of sweet or junk or snack food from your kids. And you know that they are actually hungry when they ask, and as a parent want to give them something to satisfy that hunger that will actually be good for them too.

Researchers at Cornell University suggest that a combination of cheese and vegetables are the answer parents can turn to when the kids are pleading for a snack. In a study involving 201 children in third to sixth grades, the research provided four snack options – potato chips only, cheese only, veggies only and a combination of cheese and vegetables.

Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the kids who ate cheese and vegetables consumed 72 percent fewer calories than those who were allowed to eat the chips. They also need to eat less to feel full.

“The combination snack of vegetables and cheese can be an effective means for children to reduce caloric intake while snacking,” the researchers concluded. “The effect was more pronounced among children who were overweight or obese and children from low-involvement families.”

The study was published online in the journal Pediatrics.

Of course, the trick for parents is to get the kids to actually eat the veggies and cheese.

There are lots of choices available such as convenient single serving string cheese and baby carrots packages or you could your own healthy snack bags. And earlier research from Cornell suggests “branding” your healthy snacks with popular children’s characters encourages kids to eat them.

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