Even if parents try to limit their children’s consumption of junk food, it’s hard to monitor what they’re snacking on once they leave the house. And as chips, fries, and other nibbles are less filling than their healthier counterparts, kids tend to snack more, leading to an increase in calorie intake.

A recent study featured on MedicalNewsToday.com has looked into ways on how to promote healthy snacking to children. Researchers Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Mitsuru Shimizu, Ph.D., and Adam Brumberg worked with 201 kids attending third to sixth grade to see what kind of food can give them the same satisfaction with fewer calories. They were given a plate of potato chips, a plate of vegetables, and a plate of cheese and vegetables while watching after-school cartoons. The feeling of fullness was monitored before the experiment, after watching one animated episode, and once more, after watching two episodes.

The results showed that children who snacked on cheese and vegetables felt full quicker and consumed fewer calories to satisfy their hunger as compared to those who ate potato chips. Overweight children included in the study ate 76 percent less calories when given the cheese and vegetables plate, while average children ate 60 percent less.

Not surprisingly, kids whose parents weren’t that involved in their eating habits and who spent less time at the dining table as a family unit ate more potato chips than others.

Researchers recommend parents to try their best to eat with their children, as this activity can teach the youngsters how to eat right. They can also provide more varieties of nutritious and filling snacks similar to cheese and vegetables in small quantities. Another good way of keeping a healthy kiddie diet is to teach children how to be conscious about when they feel full. This way, they consume fewer calories and more of the nutrients they truly need.

(Photo by Bunches and Bits {Karina} via Flickr Creative Commons)

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