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Have Chips Met Their Match?

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Crispy, salty chips are a favorite TV-time snack for kids; some parents say that nothing else will satisfy their child’s “snack tooth.” But it turns out that a healthier option can satisfy a child's appetite just as well and result in the consumption of dramatically fewer calories.

In a study published recently in the journal Pediatrics, Cornell University researcher Brian Wansink (author of Mindless Eating) and his colleagues measured children's snacking as they watched TV:

  • Kids who had a combination veggie and cheese snack consumed about 70% fewer calories — yet were just as satisfied — as those who were served potato chips.
  • The effect was even more pronounced for kids who were overweight.
     

While adults weren’t part of the study, this satisfying combo snack strategy could make sense for everyone in the family (as long as long as cheese portions are kept small). Fiber-rich fresh veggies help people feel satisfied when they eat; protein-rich foods like cheese — though it contains fat — are also associated with feeling full, so smaller portions can go a long way.

 

For Today’s Step, try a few cubes of cheese (about an ounce) alongside some mini carrots, broccoli florets, sweet bell pepper slices or celery sticks as an afternoon snack for your kids (or for yourself). It’s a strategy that can satisfy your kids’ hunger and your healthy eating resolve at the same time. What combo snacks work well in your family? Share with us in Comments!

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