With all due respect to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, young children do not need to snack.
Hey schools, listen up. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that young children need to eat between meals. If you think I’m wrong, I invite you to send me the evidence.
By evidence, I do not mean repeating the claim, “Younger kids need to eat three meals and at least two snacks a day,” like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics does.
Maybe I’m stating the obvious, but young children have small stomachs because they have small bodies.
Yes, you can find studies that show a relationship between snacking and overweight, but taken as a whole, these studies are inconclusive and contradictory. And they can’t solve the age-old problem of the “chicken or the egg.” But even if these studies could, a relationship between snacking and weight isn’t the same thing as scientifically showing that young children need to snack.
4 Reasons I’m arguing against the idea of snackingOne Snacking is where all the empty, high sugar, high fat and high sodium calories come from, research shows. This alone should convince us to rethink the role of snacking in our children’s lives. Read this. Two Snacking teaches our children that it’s ok to eat all day long. Some studies have shown children eating up to 10 times per day. Three By teaching kids that snacking is the right thing to do, we are inadvertently teaching kids that any hunger is bad. Four The dictum that children need to snack makes parents — and teachers — feel it is better to give children a “bad” snack than no snack at all.
Have I convinced you?
Do No Harm Snacking
A few years ago, I asked readers to consider whether a healthy snack is one defined primarily by: A) the presence of “good” nutrients or by B) the absence of “bad” nutrients. I hypothesized that parents would argue A but act as if the answer is B.
I called snacks that were thought of as “healthy” due to the absence of “bad” nutrients Do No Harm snacks. These include Goldfish Crackers, Animal Crackers, baked chips and Booty. Read more about “Do No Harm Snacking” here.
Yes, I know there are reasons why schools serve these particular snacks. They’re easy to store. They don’t spoil. But still. ..
Are there reasons to serve a school snack? Sure.
Many children don’t eat enough for breakfast. Heck, many school children don’t have enough food at home to eat breakfast. So I’m not arguing against school snack. I’m arguing against an idea.
Remember back in the “old” days? Kids didn’t have snack at school. None of us died from malnutrition, passed out from low sugar levels or in any other way suffered because we had to “make it” from breakfast until lunch. (Yes, I admit, I grew up in the “good old days.)
But does that mean you have to serve these snacks? Read The Snacking Minefield before you decide.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~