From animal crackers to gummy fruit snacks and calorie-laden juice drinks, kids in child care are not getting the nutrition they need from daily snacks, according to a new study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center published online in the journal Childhood Obesity. The study – the first of its kind to compare meals to snacks – shows that despite efforts to improve the diets of children in child care settings, meals – and particularly snacks – still lack nutritional quality. Snacks, while smaller than meals, are an integral part of preschool-aged children’s diets, typically comprising 26 percent of their daily calorie intake.
Researchers from Cincinnati Children’s reviewed menus at 258 child care centers in southwestern Ohio, analyzing the average weekly frequency for servings of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, juice (100 percent) and sweet or salty foods. They found that the composition of lunches differed from snacks in all food categories. Fruits, vegetables and meats were rarely included in snacks, but were listed almost daily as a component of lunches. Conversely, 87 percent of centers served sweet and salty foods – such as gummy snacks, pretzels and crackers – at snack time more than three times per week, but rarely at lunch.Leave a reply →