What are the foods to avoid? What to choose to stop hunger between one meal and another? Here are the expert's tips and 5 inspiring ideas to make children's snacks healthier and more nutritious
In Italy, more than 21% of children are overweight and 9.3% are obese. The data from the latest Eurispes Italy report say so. The cause? "They eat inadequately and move little," he comments Nicoletta Bocchino, nutritionist biologist. Behind the extra pounds in the vast majority of cases there are bad habits, especially between meals. «Often children skip the snack or consume as a snack mostly high-calorie foods with a low satiating power which instead of stopping hunger, stimulate it. As a result, they nibble constantly, overdo the quantities in subsequent meals and gain weight . But it's not just about the extra pounds. "A child who is overweight or obese is more likely to have problems with type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other ailments over time", adds the expert. On vacation, the risk of eating badly increases. "On the beach, for example, children are taken by games and baths and often forget to have a snack or as soon as they feel hungry they ask to eat ready-made snacks, easy to munch, which are often also rich in lipids and simple sugars, which favor the weight gain and the onset of health problems. To quench their thirst, they also take sweet and carbonated drinks, which in addition to not satisfying the thirst, increase the desire for sweet ", explains the expert, who here reveals what they are mistakes to stay away from on the beach and the tips to follow to make children's snacks healthier.
Things not to do
Consume brioches and ice cream
"Sweets and ice cream are rich in fats (hydrogenated and saturated) and refined sugars, which in addition to promoting the accumulation of fat have a reduced satiating and nutritional power". The ideal, therefore, "is to replace them with fresh and natural foods such as seasonal fruit. It is particularly rich in vitamins, mineral salts and water, which improve hydration and help the body better cope with the heat. Ok then to peaches, watermelon, apricots. The latter in particular are rich in beta-carotene, a precious antioxidant that protects the skin from damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun and then natural water, the most effective thirst quencher ".
Eat salty snacks
«Chips and snacks in bags are convenient to carry and easy to munch on the go. However, they are not the ideal solution for a healthy and balanced snack ", warns the expert. "They often bring a lot of saturated fats and a high sodium content, which promotes dehydration, stimulates thirst and increases the risk of undergoing weight gain. In addition, they are poor in vitamins and minerals . For a snack on the beach, it is better to focus on foods that are easy to munch on, nutritious and healthy, such as nuts. "Walnuts, for example, provide satiating fibers and mineral salts such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, which improve the body's response to high temperatures. But pay attention to the quantities. «Dried fruit is very energetic. The ideal is to consume no more than 30 grams per day ".
Go overboard with stuffed sandwiches
"To break hunger between meals, the classic sandwich stuffed with mozzarella, cured meats and sausages should be avoided. In addition to providing an exaggerated amount of saturated fat and calories, it is difficult to digest. Better to prefer two small slices of wholemeal bread with cooked ham. It provides fibers and slow-absorbing complex carbohydrates that recharge with energy and give satiety. The ideal is to accompany it with a slice of tomato, rich in minerals and water that help replenish the liquids lost with sweating ".
Drink packaged juices
«Even if they are refreshing and thirst-quenching, these drinks are a" bomb "of rapidly absorbed sugars. They stimulate an exaggerated production of insulin, a hormone that promotes weight gain. Better to give priority to DIY drinking fruit and vegetables such as smoothies and extracts, without adding sugar. The fruit, especially the juice version, due to the lack of fiber is already particularly sweet .