Children Who Snack Between Meals Have Healthier Diet, According To Study

Children Who Snack Between Meals Have Healthier Diet, According To Study

According to a new American study, children who snack between meals tend to have a healthier diet than their peers. Read more here.

A new study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has found that children who snack between meals have a healthier diet compared to their peers.

The study examined data on eating habits among 150 families in the US with children between the ages of 5 to 7 years old. 

Researchers particularly surveyed participants on three separate occasions about what they ate and drank over the previous 24 hours. 

healthy diet

Source: iStock

Kids that snack also have a higher intake of sweetened beverages 

healthy diet

Source: iStock

Researchers found that children who ate snacks had an average Healthy Eating Index (HEI) score of 57.1 while children who did not snack scored 55.3 points.

These children who ate snacks, got an average of 1.08 servings of fruit, 1.29 servings of vegetables, 4.26 servings of protein and 2.15 servings of dairy each day. 

On the other hand, Kids who did not snack got barely two-thirds of a serving of fruit daily, 3.88 servings of protein, and 0.59 servings of vegetables,

Katie Loth, one of the study’s authors, said her team of researchers were surprised to find that snacking contributed positively to a child’s overall diet quality. 

However, she also added that while these children had a healthier diet, they also consumed a higher amount of refined grains and sugar-sweetened beverages. 

Diet quality varies within racial and ethnic groups

The study also found that a child’s diet score was impacted by his or her race and ethnicity. For instance, there was hardly any difference between snackers and non-snackers in African-American children. 

However, Hispanic children and white children comparatively saw a slight increase in diet scores between snackers and non-snackers. 

While the study shows an interesting insight into children’s snacking habits, parents should note that the study’s sample is too small to provide concrete proof about whether snacking really leads to a healthy diet.

So with this in mind, the research team going forward will be focusing on a larger scale study to further improve their current findings. 

“Future research should seek to better understand influences on children’s food choices at snack times and barriers to serving more healthful foods as snacks that are faced by ethnically or racially diverse families,” the research team concluded.

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Written by

Shreya Jagdish

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