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Snacking has become a way of life for both adults and children. Everybody should have at least one snack per day. However, many standard snack foods are high in fat, sugar and sodium. Choosing such fatty foods often can have a negative effect on the child’s overall nutrition.

Sweet Snacks
The young child’s preference for sweets is related to parents. Children whose parents ate sweets frequently were likely to eat sweets more often than those whose parents seldom ate sweets. Sweet eating was also related to the amount of television watched by the child and also to the parent’s attitude toward giving the child sweets.

Snacks & Dental Health
The most common nutritional disease of childhood is dental caries (cavities). On an average five year old has three cavities. Decayed and/or lost teeth can result in pain and discomfort, talking with a lisp, damage to the permanent teeth and inability to chew normally. Almost all foods can contribute to dental caries, but sweets are to blame the most. Recent research has shown that the important factor is not how many sweets are eaten, but rather how often they are eaten. Eating sweet foods as snacks is more likely to result in tooth decay than eating them at meals.
Dental caries also depends on what type of sweet is eaten. Sticky foods tend to cause more cavities than comparable amounts of non sticky sweet foods such as liquids.

Snacks & Obesity
Elementary age children gain weight faster than height Their body proportions begin to change during adolescence. They need more nutrients than their adult parents. Eating between meals can lead to excessive weight gain because so many snack foods are high in fat and sugar. Follow these guidelines to help your child learn weight–conscious snacking habits. Plan snacks as part of the daily food plan. Serve snacks and meals that satisfy a child’s need for extra nutrients and for different types of foods–crunchy, soft, chewy, smooth, hot, cold, sweet, sour, bland, spicy. Never offer food as a reward for good behavior. Limit intake of sweet beverages.

Snacks & Iron Deficiency
Poor eating habits often lead to iron deficiency. You should avoid this problem by choosing iron–rich snacks, such as peanut butter, watermelon, meat and iron–fortified cereals. However, raisins can be added to cereals or used in salads, cookies or bread. Although raisins are a good source of iron, they are not recommended for snacks because of their sticky consistency which causes dental caries.

Snack Tips
Simple Snacks Simple Snacks
Snacks are a good way to introduce new foods. When shopping, let yourfood kid help pick out fruits, vegetables, and cheese as they’ll be more interested in eating them. Plan and prepare extra servings like sandwiches, salads, cups of soup. Offer snacks at regular times, such as midmorning and mid afternoon. Don’t let them nibble constantly during the day. Avoid giving high sugar, fatty and salty snacks, such as candy, potato chips, etc. Give that occasionally. Avoid giving Caffeine–containing beverages, such as coffee, tea, and some soft drinks.

Lunch, Think Variety!
Lunch is always a big issue. To keep lunches from getting boring and unappealing, try new foods. Think of variety. The following few tips will help you prepare a perfect lunch.

Sandwiches are a great way to create a nutritionally balanced food. They can include the best combination of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. And they are easy to make! You can give them various shapes to make them attractive so that they don’t look boring.

Experiment with bread. Instead of white bread, try whole wheat or whole grain (brown bread).

Fruits are great source of vitamins. Don’t forget to add the fruits and vegetables to your lunch. Getting five servings a day is easy when you include these in your lunch. Fruit and vegetables are the original snack food, they are fast and easy to prepare. Try a new variety of fruit or vegetable each week.

If a glass of milk is not possible, try another dairy product, such as yogurt or cheese. Yogurt comes in many tasty varieties and can be low in fat. Add a slice of cheese on your sandwich or pack cheese sticks.

Favorite Foods
Just because you are trying to eat healthy, does not mean you have to give up old favorites like potato chips or cakes. Used in moderation, these products will help add variety. Also, there are lower calorie varieties such as baked potato chips, reduced fat crackers, or reduced fat cookies. Be creative and enjoy!