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Snack for Thought

Do we let our kids snack too much? That’s what we’ve been wondering, after reading this new study on children’s snacking habits and this nifty little commentary on our “snacking nation.”

As Jennifer Steinhauer memorably puts it, “Apparently, we have collectively decided as a culture that it is impossible for children to take part in any activity without simultaneously shoving something into their pie holes.” (Heh. Actually, we just wanted to be able to say “pie hole.”)

Here at Jolly Tomato, we plead guilty. Sometimes we use snacktime as a bridge between activities, as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, or as a pre-tantrum “please be quiet and go eat this.” But wait – it gets worse: We have a t-ball practice that ends at 5 p.m. on Friday and all of the moms are lining up to bring snacks for the end of practice. Snacks at 5 p.m.? What have we come to?

Well, for one thing, things are definitely different than when we were kids. We’re dragging our kids everywhere, for every kind of lesson and practice. It’s not like when we were little and we’d just run down the street to play with our friends and buy some penny candy from the corner store. Our kids are leading scheduled, structured lives that often take them away from their home base. Throwing in a snack every now and then to keep their energy levels up seems OK to us.

So here’s where we come down on this: Snacks are fine, with moderation and good sense. That means yes to celery and peanut butter at 3 p.m.; no to fruit roll-ups at 5 p.m. Yes to a small cup of yogurt after school, no to a chocolate chip granola bar right before dinner. You get the picture. We’re not trying to stuff them, right? In fact, one of our favorite things is when our little guys rush over to the dinner table declaring, “I’m so hungry! That’s how we know we’ve done the day right.


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