Snacks Attack: Unhealthy Choices Vs Healthy

Snacks are such an important part of our life in the modern era as they keep us filled on the go, they are so at arm distance whenever we feel like relaxing after a hectic day, keep us going at work, easy to pack for our kids when going to school.  When kids need something to bite in between meals and it is what they also served us in cinemas.  Therefore, it is an arduous task to avoid snacks in this period.

Most importantly, for parents that intend to raise a healthy child with the appropriate weight, controlling what our kids eat becomes an important task for us and motivating them to eat healthily is something a parent can find difficult to do without healthy alternative snacks or food choices available.  Since snacks seem to be everywhere in our environment, this article will be dedicated to looking into some unhealthy snacks out there and healthy alternatives that will be easy to switch to for the kids and ourselves.

Sweetened Soda Drinks

This is one of the most popular drinks across age and divides in the world; they are in different forms and brands.  However, what is common to them is the fact that they are carbonated, loaded with sugar or in some cases aspartame and lacks required vitamins and minerals, which are always in contrast to recommended daily intake and can cause so many harm and has no nutritional value. 

This is substantiated by the report of Seifert et al., 2011, that attributed severe healthy risk of soda drinks in children and adolescents, with associated health risks reported to include obesity, diabetes, cardiac diseases, and psychological problems.

Healthy alternatives (Water and Soda Water)

Water is an essential part of human life; it contains so many essential minerals, which are lacking in the typical soda drinks being sold globally.  In addition, Stookey et al., 2012 reported that replacing sweetened beverages with water reduces energy intake.  That is drinking water can reduce one’s calorie intake thereby helps in managing obesity and associated health risks.

However, if water may seem too bland lemon can be added to it to give nice flavoring and more minerals in the water.

Fruit Juices

Most fruit juices been sold under the name of fruit juices are not only another sugary drink, but they are loaded with preservatives that can cause cancer and pose the danger of obesity-associated risk to children consuming them.  They have low nutritional value, lesser fruit concentrate; unnatural flavorings are abundant in it and high corn syrup that is associated with obesity.

Therefore, parents should look out for all these drinks and read their ingredients to ensure their children are consuming what is right.

Natural Fruit Juice as Healthy Alternative

An alternative to fruit juices is for the parents to get fresh fruits and juicers out there that can facilitate the making of natural fruit drinks.  Which are high in sucrose that is well digested and absorbed by the body.  They are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins that help in the fight against obesity-associated diseases.

Sweetened Breakfast Cereals

They are easy to prepare and ready to be served; this makes them the go-to for mothers in other to reduce the already hectic schedules.  However, like most processed foods the fiber content of this diet is very low, they have low satiety value, which can increase individuals’ energy intake and are loaded with sugars.  All these mentioned are recipes for obesity and metabolic syndrome. 

While the breakfast cereals have supplemental vitamins, their bioavailability is reduced, therefore parents should not make them a habit for their children to consume or seek healthy alternatives.

Healthy Alternatives to Breakfast Cereals (Home-made Oats and Plain Yoghurt)

Breakfast cereals that are high in fibers with low added sugar are healthy alternatives.  However, this will become a problem since manufacturers may not declare the true nutritional value of their products, this was well corroborated in the work of Schwartz et al., 2008, which reported that most breakfast cereals marketed to children do not meet the national nutritional standard.  Therefore, making one’s oat porridge is the parent’s best bet or served them with plain yogurt rich in protein and minerals.

Yogurts

Most yogurts marketed to children are unhealthy based on their ingredients, yogurts marketed to children are rich in artificial additives, and preservatives that have been reported to likely cause cancer in individuals in the later phase of their life.  In addition, they are loaded with sugar as a sweetener and lacks probiotics that aid digestion and absorption of nutrients. 

Greek Yoghurt as Healthy Alternative

Therefore, when seeking healthy yogurts for one’s kid, it is essential to look at the ingredients and selection should be based on protein contents, calcium and other minerals required for child development.  However, one can make the healthy choice of switching to unsweetened Yoghurts like plain Greek Yoghurt, which are rich in probiotics, calcium, and essential minerals.

Prepackaged Lunch

These combos of crackers and meats are convenient for both the parents and the children.  Even children can be so hooked on a snack that they will keep craving for it, and this should send a negative signal to parents.  As convenient as prepackaged lunch packs are, they are loaded with preservatives that are unhealthy, high in fat, sugar, and sodium that are the complete recipe for metabolic syndrome and obesity. 

DIY Lunch Packs Alternative

To avoid the risk associated with prepackaged lunch parents should make the effort of preparing their kids’ lunch packs filled with whole wheat, low sodium meat, and Swiss cheese, which are healthy for the kids and more filling.

Applesauce

While this is usually fed to infants, it has found its way into young children’s diet as an on the go snacks.  Regardless been fed to infants or young children, applesauce is low in nutritional values such as fiber and essential nutrients.  In addition, it is loaded with sugar and calories making it unsuitable for weight management in children.

Apple Fruit as the Sauce

To avoid applesauce brands, parents should try to make their kids applesauce and employ natural sweetener such as honey to supplement this to avoid the unnecessary danger of corn syrup utilized in most of these processed children’s snacks.

Energy Bars

Popular among the kids and they love it, they are rich in carbs that are the necessary fuel for activity.  A danger of Energy Bars is that most energy bars in the market are loaded with sugars and sugar alcohol.  However, they have no nutritive value and are pointers to obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Alternative (Ditch or Make your own)

The healthy alternative is to make one’s energy bar where you can monitor the sweetener and determine the addition of other nutritive ingredients.

Calorie Snack Packs

Yes, while you are happy to feed your kids with this thinking they are getting necessary calories.  It is still loads of processed materials loaded with sugars and corn syrup, which are dangerous as usual.

Natural Calorie Snack Packs

If you are thinking of calorie packs, go natural and feed them with almonds among other fruits available that will provide ease to process energy than piles of Oreos and cookies.

Peanut Butter

Our lovely peanut butter is always there for spreads among other uses that the children love so much.  However, we should try to avoid them in kid’s snacks as peanut butter is loaded with too much sugar and salts that make them unhealthy.

Almond Butter alternative to Peanut Butter

Alternatively, we can make natural peanut butter in our homes or use almond butter instead which is rich in healthy fats and low in sugar.