Vegetables & Cheese Make A Better Snack

Anyone with kids can tell you that snack time is practically a “must.” Little bellies just can’t make it from one meal to the next without a little pick-me-up. But when you’re dashing through your day, it’s easy to just throw at your kids whatever is easiest (um, crackers anyone?).

The problem with this fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to snacking is it doesn’t provide kids with good quality calories. Sure, the empty calories found in chips, refined crackers or other similar foods may (sort of) help tide them over to the next meal. But it doesn’t nourish them or teach them about good eating habits. And it may even contribute to unnecessary weight gain.

Fortunately, Dr. Brian Wansink and his colleagues at Cornell University just published a study that provides us parents with an easy solution… vegetables and cheese!

It turns out that kids who were served a combination snack of vegetables and cheese (while watching cartoons, no less) ate 72 percent fewer calories compared to when they were served potato chips. While the study didn’t analyze nutrient intake, kids who eat vegetables and cheese are clearly going to get more fiber, calcium and other important nutrients that potato chips don’t provide.

Worried that serving cheese, along with the vegetables, will make your kids eat less veggies? Fear not. According to the researchers “children offered the combination snack consumed about the same amount of vegetables as those offered vegetables only.”

So tossing kids vegetables and cheese may take, oh, 30-seconds longer than tossing them crackers or chips, but it’s definitely worth it.

What are some of your favorite combination (two food groups or more) snacks?