If your kid loves snacking only on healthier snacks like fruits, lucky you. Most parents, however, have to deal with children who’ve acquired a taste for high-fat, high-sugar treats. You can – and should – ration them. But which are the lesser evils?
Rddhi Naidu, senior dietitian and programme manager at Novi Health medical clinic, does the maths for Young Parents. Values are calculated based on a 2,000kcal daily intake, which is the maximum number of calories that kids aged 10 years and below should consume.
Potato chips vs French fries
A large pack of chips will bust the daily fat requirement; the 69g of fat it contains is 106 per cent of what your child should be eating. It also contains 20g of saturated fat, which is the maximum he should have in a day.
A typical medium pack of fries from fast food restaurants contains 19g of fat, of which 2.7g is saturated fat. That’s 29 per cent of Junior’s total daily recommended fat intake and 13 per cent of his daily limit for saturated fat.
And the healthier snack is… French fries! It’s a better choice because it’s lower in fat. Ask for fries without salt and ketchup. Potatoes in chips, on the other hand, have lost their vitamin C. They also have a larger surface area, which absorbs more oil. But both chips and fries have acrylamide, a cancer causing substance, because they’re fried.
(Also read: Baby snacks: What you should buy)
Chocolate cookies vs chocolate bars
Four chocolate cookies have 92 calories and 9g of fat – 14 per cent of your kid’s total daily recommended fat intake. A bar with four squares has 120 calories and 7g of fat. That’s about 10 per cent of his total fat intake.
And the healthier snack is… A chocolate bar! For slightly more calories, you get more calcium. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine (a mood elevator) and oleic acid (a monounsaturated fat that can raise good cholesterol levels). If your kid isn’t fussy, try dark chocolate. It has fewer calories, sugar and saturated fat, and higher levels of antioxidants.
(Also read: 5 healthier snacks for children)
Boiled sweets vs gummies
Five boiled (hard) sweets add up to 100 calories, 18g of sugar and 1.6g of fat. Eat five gummies and you’ll consume 44 calories and 6.5g of sugar, but 0g of fat.
And the healthier snack is… Gummy bears! Simply because they contain fewer calories and sugar – and no fat. Both snacks are made with high fructose corn syrup, which does not shut off ghrelin, a hormone the stomach produces to indicate hunger. So, these candies will never satisfy hunger, and may in fact cause overeating.
(Also read: Recipes: 10 kid-friendly snacks to make)