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Change4life advise giving children two snacks a day of 100 cals each. What is everyone's thoughts?

(62 Posts)
topsyandtimison Tue 02-Jan-18 07:16:07

It's just been on breakfast tv. They say children should only eat fruit salad or a plain rice cake as a snack. So 200 cals a day of snacks. This would be fab but my little one (age 4) would not want a plain rice cake as a snack. She likes a few crackers and cheese or homemade biscuits etc. Is that bad?

Sirzy Tue 02-Jan-18 07:21:16

I haven’t read it properly, and tend to avoid change 4 life stuff as their advice is generally far from ideal imo.

However I think the general meaaage that children are having too many snacks is, in most cases, a very valid one. Too often parents from a young age use food and snacks as a bribe or to control behaviour etc which sets up the snacking relationship.

gamerchick Tue 02-Jan-18 07:24:52

Why is it always rice cakes? Dry tasteless things. I’d rather have no snack at all!

Jellybean85 Tue 02-Jan-18 07:25:09

I do think children on average are given snacks too often now and the snacks are often way more calories than a child needs. Even crackers and cheese or homemade biscuits are likely to be several hundred calories, is it really needed? Most kids cAn wait between meals unless there are medical reasons or sport etc

insancerre Tue 02-Jan-18 07:25:43

I think crackers and cheese is fine
I work in a nursery and the lunch boxes sometimes are filled with high sugar high fat rubbish, every day in some cases
I think people need educating about healthy eating

Squeegle Tue 02-Jan-18 07:37:49

I think the big problem is not little toddlers or lunchboxes it is that as soon as children hit about 8 or so, they are bombarded with ads and availability of sweets, chocs, crisps etc and fizzy drinks at every turn. And they’re easy to persuade. The big deal would be to stop advertisers targeting children.

Backinten Tue 02-Jan-18 07:40:36

I think if a child is doing the right amount of physical activity that they should be doing then they’ll probably need a little snack.

Chienrouge Tue 02-Jan-18 07:41:09

Mine wouldn’t eat rice cakes. They taste like cardboard. 100 cals seems pretty reasonable for a small child’s snack though I think. Mine tend to have a banana or a bowl of chopped grapes/blueberries/apple.
I guess with everything you use your common sense and look at what they’re eating over the entire day.

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Tue 02-Jan-18 07:41:38

I thought young kids needed protein in their snacks, a rice cake seems very unsatisfactory if they are physically very active?

Our dentist is always telling us to never snack on fruit due to the high sugar content! Surely cheese and biscuits would be better than fruit? (Assuming they can eat fruit with their meal later)

Sirzy Tue 02-Jan-18 07:44:58

www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/02/childrens-snacking-habits-setting-them-up-for-obesity-in-later-life

Reading this shows why change needs to be encouraged. 1/3 of children having 4 or more snacks a day - how on earth are they fitted in for one?

AuntieStella Tue 02-Jan-18 07:47:29

I've just seen a segment on Breakfast about this.

The key npmessage seems to be that children donMt need to be eating all the time, snacking isn't necessary at all but if you must give your DC snacks, then 2 snacks (approx 200 calorie max) is the r commended maximum, as that amount isn't linked to childhood obesity.

Now, the research behind that might be less than it seems (I have no idea which studies this is based on). But obesity in childhood is a problem in UK. As you can see from numerous (adult) weitgthloss threads on MN then approach which is most widely endorsed is 'eat less' then sending out a message which. Is all about getting DC to eat less is fringing on the utterly obvious.

EdithWeston Tue 02-Jan-18 07:50:09

They don't "advise giving children two snacks a day of 100 cals each"

They say reduce snacks, and do not exceed 2 snacks (about 100 each).

They are not endorsing or encouraging snacking in itself, and the message is about reducing how much is eaten in addition to meals.

nooka Tue 02-Jan-18 07:50:22

It's a very crude message, and as with most simplified advice it doesn't fit all situations. Different children have different needs and different lives. My ds at a young age behaved terribly if he didn't have his energy levels relatively high all the time. Also neither of my children like to eat much first thing so a good 11sies was important. A rice cake and a bit of fruit would not have cut it (although they ate plenty of both as they liked them, but adding a bit of protein really helped on the energy front).

Once they were at school a snack before the walk home was important too as otherwise they'd get really whinny (school is pretty hard work when you are small). A snack before bed seemed to help him have a good nights sleep, although that was usually a rice cake or something similarly plain. His eating habits haven't changed that much now he's almost an adult and he is still among the thinnest people I know. He doesn't have a sweet tooth though, and crackers and cheese is still his favourite snack.

Fairylea Tue 02-Jan-18 07:52:53

I let my two eat whatever they like whenever they like, we eat a healthy dinner and lunch and whatever they want in between they can have. The main thing we do differently to a lot of families is that we do a lot of activity- every day we go on long walks, go to the park, try not to use the car unless we absolutely have to (we do live quite rurally; we just try to do things as locally as possible - a walk to the shops and back is an hour). I think there should be more focus on exercise as opposed to sugar and foods.

I really think the main difference between now and 40 years ago is people driving everywhere, not walking enough and not being as active as possible. I know it’s not always easy or possible depending on health issues- we struggle ourselves, I have chronic health problems and ds has autism and learning disabilities which presents its own issues with getting out and about but we do what we can.

Ds (5) and dd (14) are very tall and very slim. They stop eating when they’ve had enough, I think because they don’t see any food as a “treat” as such they don’t feel the need to go mad if they have a bag of sweets etc.

AndhowcouldIeverrefuse Tue 02-Jan-18 08:02:37

Oher snack foods PHE says are healthier include fresh or tinned fruit salad, chopped vegetables and lower fat hummus, plain rice cakes, crackers, lower fat cheese, small low-fat, lower sugar yoghurt, sugar free jelly, crumpets and Scotch pancakes

How is a crumpet a healthy snack? And why low fat stuff? I just try to give my children food, as unprocessed as possible - as a rule that means they get full and get nutrients they need without excess calories (they are healthy and slim).

The overall goal of reducing sugar consumption in children is spot-on but I think the specific advice is not great.

OddBoots Tue 02-Jan-18 08:06:55

Cheese and crackers would be fine as long as the portion was small enough for 100kcal. I wouldn't say either fruit or crisps were good as a stand alone snack because of the teeth damage they cause, crisps are just 'party' food, fruit is better with a meal to protect teeth.

A boiled egg and half a slice of wholemeal bread would be a good snack, or carrot sticks with soft cheese or a small bowl of unsweetened porridge.

The default for children should be active, having an active child shouldn't be exceptional but a healthy child over 3 (and a healthy adult) can easily manage with 3 good meals a day, snacks aren't needed, they are just a culture we have been sold by food marketing companies. A compromise of 2 small snacks a day is trying to balance this culture with what we actually need.

RebeccaWrongDaily Tue 02-Jan-18 08:10:35

i would imagine, for the purposes of this study they're recommending non-sweet snacks, so a crumpet rather than a flapjack/biscuit/cake.

megletthesecond Tue 02-Jan-18 08:12:05

That was easy when mine were pre-schoolers. Sadly rice cakes and bits of fruit went out the window (or the bin) once they were about 5yrs old. These days the best I can do is a plain biscuit, some nuts or chewing gum.

nooka Tue 02-Jan-18 08:52:07

If sugar free jelly means jelly with artificial sweeteners I'd not think of that as healthy at all. Why would you give your child a sweet thing with zero goodness in it? If they are hungry it will do bugger all so it's just a sweet treat, surely the opposite of what is intended.

As a teenager if I didn't snack I'd get really nauseous and sometimes pass out. I wasn't ill, I just got hypoglycemic if the gap between meals was too long, easily avoided by timely snacking. Likewise I could have chosen not to give ds snacks but as regularly topping up his energy levels made him happier and much easier to live with why on earth would I do that? He scored at 6th centile on the children's BMI charts so not a standard shaped child, but again there was nothing wrong with him apart from a fast metabolism and an inability to stay still.

RebeccaWrongDaily Tue 02-Jan-18 08:55:57

i guess all information like this needs to be written to cater for the lowest common denominator, if you are slim and fit then the chances are you are not the person this is aimed at.
If your idea of an after school snack is a sausage roll,an ice finger, a grab bago of doritos washed down with a can of fanta then this might wake you up a bit....

AlbusPercival Tue 02-Jan-18 09:04:23

@squeegle the rules on advertising to children are already very stringent

MiaowTheCat Wed 03-Jan-18 15:46:52

I've always tried to bring mine up not to snack - but then you do the toddler group circuit and it's like play for 5 minutes... snack time! (I was never organised enough to be one of these mums breaking the tuppaware out of the changing bag every 2 seconds either - banana chucked in on top and usually found 2 weeks later if I was being exceptionally organised.

If mine do have a snack, yep it may well be a biscuit, or a bit of fruit - and on a day they go from school to an afterschool activity they'll usually have something then but we do eat tea early which reduces the need to do school pickups brandishing a mini picnic like some parents do!

My kids will eat pretty much everything - were weaned on curries and chilli and the like and adore some fairly adult flavours like olives - but they'd refuse a plain rice cake - they have some standards! Even our old dog, a creature who'd eat his own vomit with glee as a chance to relive breakfast, refused plain rice cakes pilfered from the floor.

KennDodd Wed 03-Jan-18 15:54:44

I would think better advice would be that children (and adults) don't need snacks, they can wait until meal times. Its ok for most people to be hungry at times and doesn't need to be treated as some sort of medical emergency that needs immediate attention.

Enidthecat Sat 06-Jan-18 23:12:31

That's not true for everyone kenn I get nauseous and feel like I'm going to pass out if I don't snack. I can't eat big meals so i eat little and often. It's unreasonable to think 3 meals is fine for everyone.

Xmasbaby11 Sun 07-Jan-18 09:19:21

I'm struggling at the moment with getting my 4 and 6 yo off snacks. Nursery and playgroups got them used to 2 snacks a day, we've done the same at home and now I wish I'd tried to break it earlier as dd1 is a bit greedy and becoming overweight.

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