Avoiding obesity: Tips for preparing our children’s snacks

In order to avoid the growing epidemic ofchildhood obesityin order to avoid the growing epidemic of obesity, it is important to look at what our children should eat rather than focusing on what they should not eat. Indeed, focusing on deprivation is not the best strategy for either a child or an adult.

What is the ideal snack for my child?

Many parents think that the old adage “don’t snack between meals” still applies to children. In fact, researchers have shown that this old advice should not even apply to adults. Ultimately, reducing the number of calories consumed in a day is a good idea. However, cutting out snacks and eating only at mealtimes can cause blood sugar levels to drop and may encourage your child to overeat at mealtimes. Therefore, giving your child a snack is a good thing, as long as the foods chosen are healthy. In fact, if you want to optimise the nutritional balance of your child’s snacks, plan them in advance rather than waiting until the last minute. Here are some examples of healthy snacks for your child:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Smoothies
  • Raw vegetables
  • Yoghurt
  • Nuts
  • Homemade cakes

Here’s a sample snack you can make for your child every day:

Fresh fruit or compote with nuts, hazelnuts, almonds or pistachios (you can replace them with a pureed oilseed, which you can buy in a jar or make yourself if you have a food processor). You can choose to servewater, fruit juice or a vegetable drink. Finally, just avoid giving your child food that is too fatty or too sweet. It’s better to have abalanceddiet!

How to help our children have a healthy relationship with food

First and foremost, it’s about establishing a healthy, balanced and flexible climate around food.

There is no “right” or “wrong” food

There is no need to put restrictions in place to help our children develop a healthy relationship with food. Of course, this does not apply to allergies or intolerances, nor to religious and cultural beliefs. In fact, no food should be banned. Labels such as “junk food”, “good” or “bad”, “healthy” or “unhealthy”, can lead people to restrict themselves, to sneak food or to overindulge in foods they consider forbidden. Sometimes parents, with the best of intentions, avoid giving sweets (candy, soda) in the home. This creates a sense of prohibition. Unfortunately, this can lead to children overindulging on the rare occasions when they have the opportunity to consume such foods and feeling guilty. Moreover, this is a pattern that can easily continue into adulthood. In conclusion, creating a “never eat” category of foods is never a good idea, nor is putting childrenon a diet.

Involve your children in making the snack

When children are involved in shopping and meal preparation, they tend to be interested in a wide variety of foods. As a result, they feel a sense of pride and ownership when they eat a meal, dish or cake that they have helped to prepare from start to finish. It also provides an opportunity to talk to children about a healthy and flexible relationship with food. For example, you can point out to your child that a balanced plate is often as colourful as a rainbow. Explain to children that the different colours of food are associated with their vitamins.

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