Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chocolate is NOT a snack food

So, I just finished reading the Sunday paper - yes it's Tuesday and it's taken me this long but that's life with little people and I still enjoy it even if its tackled in bite sized pieces. In one particular article it read: "A Newspoll survey shows that of the 96 percent who snack during the week, two thirds choose chocolate, chips, lollies and cakes".  Wow.... my initial reaction was "who on earth puts chocolate, chips, lollies and cakes into the everyday snack category?" but apparently we do, they do, maybe you do....

This lead me to do a quick Google search on the definition of a snack, Wikipedia says "A snack is a small portion of food, as contrasted with a regular meal.  Traditionally snacks were prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home, often leftovers, sandwiches made from cold cuts, nuts, fruit, and the like" so far so good, it then goes on to say "With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods are now a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick and satisfying. Processed snack foods are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more appealing than prepared foods.  They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips)." Aha...there lies the problem, with all of the marketing and advertising that we are fed, at some point, we forgot that a snack is a small nutritious meal that helps us through the day, helps to keep out blood sugar levels steady, energy up and preferably not  fat along the way.

Snacking is good, snacking can be helpful in maintaining a well rounded, healthy diet, but not if we start to confuse snacks with treats or 'sometimes foods'.  Snack foods need to be made up of 'always food', foods that can be eaten everyday and that are good for us.  So next time you reach for a snack ask yourself what that snack is going to do for your body?  Teach your kids the same thing, teach them which foods will help them grow up big and strong and enable them to run around and nourish their bodies.   What you teach them now and what they learn about food when they are young will be ingrained in them as they grow.  And let's save the chocolate and lollies for treat time and save a few inches around the hips at the same time.

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