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Snacks that are King Among Kids

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  September 25, 2013 04:47 PM

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Source:  USDA
According to a recent survey by The NPD Group, children and teenagers ages 6 to 17 consume about 4 convenience-type snack foods daily, both in and out of school.  “Snack foods are increasingly becoming a part of the lunch bag carried by children to school, just like snack foods are becoming part of main meals for all of us,” says Harry Balzer, NPD chief industry analyst.   NPD’s SnackTrack, which every day of the year tracks all snacking occasions in- and away-from-home, reports that 90 percent of school snacks are brought from home.   

This is encouraging as parents can still have control over which snacks are available from the kitchen to be transported in the lunchbox or backpack.  The survey also showed a trend for snacks that need very little preparation.

According to The NPD Group survey, here are the top snack choices by age group:

Not surprisingly, the age of the kids and the level of parental supervision clearly have an impact on these top snack choices.   While fresh fruit and fruit cups were the top choices among younger children where parents still control the foods in the house, gum was the leading snack choice among teenagers, who typically demand to be more independent.  (Actually, it is hard to even think of gum as a snack since you don’t swallow it.) 

It’s good to hear that fruit is considered a convenience-oriented food no matter the age of the students.    Fruits, such as apples, bananas, and clementines need no preparation, and  most Americans need to be eating more of them.  Yogurt (packed with a freezer pack) is another healthy, convenient snack alternative as American children, as well as teens, on average, are falling short of their daily calcium needs. 

However, if less nutrient-rich chips, meal kits, or bars are routine snacks in your home, consider the following nutrient-rich alternatives that also pack well and need little preparation:

Be well, Joan

                                    Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake
Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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