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Posted by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM
  • 19 Replies

I saw this article in my FB newsfeed and thought that it was interesting.

Unplanned, random snacking can lead to problems, especially with weight. Nonstop snacking interferes with kids' appetites and can disrupt their natural instinct to experience hunger and fullness. On the other hand, snacks can actually help kids achieve a healthy weight when they are timed correctly. Most children and teens need to eat every three to four hours throughout the day to meet their MyPlate daily food plan. This translates into the following:

  • Younger kids need to eat three meals and at least two snacks a day.
  • Older kids need to eat three meals and at least one snack a day (they may need two snacks if they're going through a growth spun or if they are very physically active).

Parents and caregivers need to offer planned meals and snacks consistently throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to offer snacks a few hours after one meal ends and about one to two hours before the next meal begins. Postponing snacks until a few hours after a meal helps prevent kids from refusing food at a meal and then begging for more food as a "snack" just after the meal ends. On the other hand, putting a stop to snacking immediately before meals encourages a healthy appetite at mealtimes. Above all, remember the bottom line: if snacks are planned, coordinated with meals, and served consistently at regularly scheduled times, kids are more likely to be a healthy weight.

Where Should Kids Snack?

When at home, designate a certain area as the "eating-only zone'' and limit all snacking to that location. The kitchen table or countertop works well. When kids snack all over the house, that makes it hard for you to monitor what and how much they're eating. (Plus, all the crumbs and spills can get messy!) Also, never let kids eat snacks while watching television. Studies show that this mindless munching leads to overeating, which often results in unhealthy weight gain.

How old are your child(ren) and how many snacks a day do they have?

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM
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by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

My kids are 9, 6, and 6.  They have a snack recess, then lunch, and then snack at the afterschool program.  When I pick them up from school, they sometimes eat a light snack (maybe a fruit or crackers they didn't eat) and then we have dinner.

At home, they are not allowed to eat anywhere but the table.  EVERY ONCE in awhile, I will allow them to snack on the floor in the livingroom if they are watching tv.  I agree that according to the article you shouldn't let them eat in front of the TV but they always ask for permission to have a snack.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:29 AM

 I have a 7 and 2 year old. The oldest gets about two snacks a day. one in the morning during first recess and gets another one after school and once in awhile she will get an ice cream bar after dinner. My youngest is a different story,lol. she can snack all day if I let her. We are working on her.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:35 AM

First what is a growth spun?   DD when home will snack all day long.  She is a grazer.

by Tammy on Feb. 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM

 I hate that our school doesn't allow snacks- especially for my underweight 6th grader who is losing weight, not gaining and who has to go from 7am-1pm between breakfast and lunch. It's ridiculous. They have gym first thing in the morning and recess before they have lunch, too. So there's my little rant. lol

At home they have a snack when they get home. I'm more relaxed about where they eat. The kitchen island usually has backpacks and open binders as the kids put them there and get out their homework. The dining room table is the homework table. So, I don't care of they eat on the sofa, but they do have to either have something individual like fruit or a cheese stick OR they have to put it in a bowl so they get the right portion size and don't just sit there mindlessly eating.

by Emerald Member on Feb. 25, 2013 at 12:39 PM

IDK, I just copied and pasted the article. ;)

Quoting frndlyfn:

First what is a growth spun?   DD when home will snack all day long.  She is a grazer.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Oh....and unless they REALLY like the dinner that we made, they do not go overboard at all. 

by Silver Member on Feb. 25, 2013 at 12:43 PM

My kids are 6 and 4.  They usually have 2 snacks a day.  DS has a snack in school and then again when he gets home.  DD has a snack the 2 days a week she has school (or in the later morning on days she's off) and will have another in the afternoon with her brother.  Sometimes they may get a small snack between dinner and bedtime if they're hungry, but only if they actually ate their dinner.  If they want something like popcorn or animal crackers, they get it in a bowl so they can't mindlessly eat the entire bag; same thing if we have something like a chopped-up watermelon or big dish of cut fruit.  Since I don't allow food in the bedroom, the only room they have to eat in is the living room (also where our dining table is).  I don't make them sit at the table unless they're eating something messy.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 1:17 PM

 My children are 9 and 12. My 9 year old will have about 2 snacks a day. One around 10 and one when he gets home from school. My 12 year old does not like to snack.

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 1:45 PM

thanks for posting this I needed a reminder. I grew up with parents that had such poor nutritional habits and we snacked non-stop my father is now a diabetic (adult onset and insulin dependent). I had no idea how and what to eat since I wasn't given proper nutrition my entire life but I was determined to do something different with my child. Although in the beginning I let her snack constantly I was just so overwhelmed. Since then I have taken a food and nutrition class and made an appointment with a nutritionist and just really thought about the fact that my dd cant buy the groceries so what goes into her body is fully up to me so I began to plan our meals and snacks and that was the easy part getting her to stick to it was hard she resisted strongly at first demanding sugary or other junk food type snacks but I stuck to my guns and also had to change a lot of my own habits to model for her the proper way to eat and it is a struggle and uphill battle still but I feel better and have more energy and she is even behaving better. She is almost 7 now and we always eat breakfast, she has a morning snack at school and then they eat lunch, then a snack after school, and then we eat dinner, and then a "bednight" snack (that is what she calls it Lol), and to me this is so much better than before where she would snack constantly from the minute she got home until bedtime. Lately I have been busy doing homework and I will hear her sneak into the kitchen so I definitely need to get us back to a routine 3 meals a day and 3 snacks  

by on Feb. 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM
I have 12 , 10 and 6 year olds . They usually have a snack when they come in from school . If we are at a long sporting event where they are participating I always pack an extra one.
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