Snacks and children: a guide to choosing

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According to pediatricians, the children's snack, as reported by the Bambini Gesù Children's Hospital of the city, is also a very important moment in the economy of a food day, useful for recharging the body (after sport) and the mind (before and after the study). 

The snack must be:

  • moderate
  • varied (to accustom children to different flavors, it is better to alternate sweet and salty)

Skipping a snack is not a useful thing. It is good to have a snack mid-morning and mid-afternoon, varying the foods and calibrating the calories. Often, having a snack on hand is helpful. When the children leave school, many times they have another activity, perhaps sports and always arrive hungry in the afternoon. Snacks are not to be avoided, but they must be chosen with care. So how to choose a comfortable solution, but without creating damage to a balanced diet? 

In this article

  • Packaged snacks: how to choose
  • Homemade snacks
  • What time to have a snack
Read also: How the right snack for children should be

Packaged snacks: how to choose

Before choosing a snack, you need to pay attention to certain factors:

  • age of the child 
  • sex
  • physical activity (do you play sports in the afternoon or spend a lot of time between homework and TV?)

In fact, each snack has different calories:

  • Snacks up to 130 kcal are suitable for elementary school children
  • Snacks between 130 and 180 kcal are suitable for children in the first years of middle school 
  • Snacks with more than 180 kcal are suitable for older children

Calories tell us the amount of energy that a snack provides, so they must be carefully monitored. Same thing for sugars: there are snacks with 5 g of sugars and others with 15 g.

Fats are also not considered, especially saturated ones. The saturated fat content depends on the type of oil or fat used for the product. For this you have to check the list of ingredients. Mainly butter, coconut oil and palm oil increase the amount of saturated fat. Precisely for the latter, we often see the words "without palm oil", eliminated first for a problem of environmental impact and subsequently for food safety.

Homemade snacks

It is often thought that a homemade snack, such as a slice of cake, is healthier than one bought at the supermarket. This is not always the case. Obviously it depends on the recipe that is used because often calories, fats and sugars are the same as those found on the back of the package of a packaged snack.

Some ideas of home-made snacks

The timeless snack:

  • dried fruit
  • yogurt
  • bread and jam: fresh bread and jam
  • bread, butter and sugar: a drizzle of butter doesn't hurt anyone
  • bread and tomato
  • bread and ham
  • fruit milkshake
  • milk and chocolate
  • fruit skewers

What time to have a snack

According to the experts of Bambin Gesù, at least 3-4 hours should elapse between snack and dinner to facilitate digestive processes and avoid too high blood sugar drops. Therefore, never skip the snack, but check the meal times.

Article sources: Altroconsuno and online magazine of the Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital in the city

  • snack
  • child snack
  • afternoon snack
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