Providing healthy yet tasty snacks is one of the true arts of parenting. It is right up there with creating thoughtful birthday goodie bags. The article from the Washington Post, No, Your Kid May Not Have A Snack by Amanda Kolson Hurley was recently posted on our Facebook page. It importantly highlights concerns about unhealthy snack patterns.
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In general, portion size, including what is put on our table and what is carried around in the diaper bag, stroller, or backpack, is increasing. Also, access to unhealthy food options is increasingly more convenient and parents are eager to keep their children happy and well fed.
As stated in the article, children are snacking more often and consuming almost 40% more calories from snacks compared to several decades ago. The prevalence of obesity in children continues to rise. As pediatricians, we have the golden opportunity to facilitate small changes that might make a difference in growth patterns.
The entrance into summer brings a change in schedules and eating opportunities. This may result in either a more organized eating pattern or the opposite! As a follow up to this article, here are some practical tips for families as we exit from the school year and welcome a new season.
As a general guideline, children and families should eat three regular meals each day. Grazing on snacks throughout the day is not recommended, however it is important to give children two planned out and healthy snacks (mid-morning and mid-afternoon) each day . This is not new news but it is a good reminder to help your family avoid grazing throughout the day. There is nothing like a day of eating cracker-y snacks to curb an appetite for a family meal.
Here are a few ideas to keep it simple:
American Academy of Pediatrics
Dietary Guidelines for Americans