Kids are snacking more than ever. Years ago kids between the ages of 2 and 6 ate on average one snack a day between meals, but today, kids typically eat almost three. Some kids eat even more than that.
Snacks are an important part of their diet because kids have a smaller stomach and high energy needs. However, when kids are allowed to eat all day, it robs them of the chance to develop an appetite. If kids aren’t coming to the table at dinner time least a little hungry, they’re not as willing to try new foods.
Toddlers and preschoolers can go two to three hours between meals and snacks, older kids three to four. Parents should avoid on-the-go snacks- in the car and the pram, in the shopping cart, or as you’re going out the door as much as possible. This could make it harder for kids to eat the right amount because they’re distracted. Mindless eaters don’t have the chance to savour food or pay attention to their body’s hunger or fullness signals, which often end up over-eating or under-eating.
The right kinds of snacks are important as it’s a big part of their diet, you should also feel good about the snacks you give your child. Paediatrician, Dr Shire Singh, says while healthy snacks are excellent for kids, an occasional sweet treat now and then could teach them how to deal with moderation from a young age. “They know they’ve had it before and will have it again” when it comes to sweet things, where as children who are deprived of any sweet things, will sneakily try to have these.