Many years ago I wrote a post called, The Potato Chip Challenge: How We Decide What Snacks to Give Our Kids. My point was simple: Potato chips set the standard for all snacks.
Snacks that surpass that standard are considered healthy. Snacks that don’t, well, you probably feel guilty eating them. And you definitely feel guilty giving them to your kids.
To prove my point, I asked readers to think about the rationale for pretzels, crackers and popcorn. They’re healthier than potato chips, right? And then I went on to compare the nutritional value of different snacks. And, lo and behold, potato chips do better than lots of those “healthier” snacks! Read The Potato Chip Challenge.
Over the years, I have written about many different kinds of snacks, especially Goldfish crackers. My argument has always been the same: Regularly giving kids salty, crunchy snacks, no matter how “healthy” they are, teaches children to have a salty, crunchy, snacking habit.
I’ve also regularly argued that if you want to clean up your kids’ eating habits, improving snacks will give you the biggest bang for your buck.
Kids snack more now than they ever have in the past. Contrary to the idealistic notion of snacks (think apples!), most children eat salty, crunchy snacks, or sweet, crunchy snacks or … candy. Further, kids today consume more calories when snacking and they don’t compensate for these extra calories by reducing the number consumed at meals. A little less of this would be a good thing. Read Do Kids Need to Snack?
And if improving your kids’ snacking wasn’t payoff enough, weaning your kids off of the salty, crunchy, experience also will help them appreciate other kinds of foods. Foods like broccoli, which is crunchy, but not in the chip-kind-of-way.
So why, then would I argue that we need National Potato Chip Day? (This year it was on 3/14.)
Back when I was a kid—Don’t you love it when people wax nostalgic?—there were only a handful of different kinds of chips. Lays. Ruffles. Fritos. Yes, Fritos are corn chips, not potato chips. And yes, there were a few more brands. But there wasn’t an entire aisle of chip and chip-like things.
Snacking wasn’t the pervasive activity it is today. Chips were a treat. They weren’t what you ate every day between breakfast and lunch. Can you say the same thing about kids today? That’s why we need National Potato Chip day. To remind us. Potato chips are a once-a-year kind of food.
Too drastic? How’s this: Potato chips are a once-a-month kind of food.
This year I putting out my own Potato Chip Challenge.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~