CLEVELAND - The key to cutting your child's calorie intake could be in the snacks they eat.
A new study finds that children who swap foods like potato chips for more nutrient-rich choices like vegetables or cheeses actually consume fewer calories when snacking.
Carrie Gonzales did not take part in the study but is a pediatric dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.
"Snacks that are higher in fiber and have more protein, like we find in cheese and vegetables, leave your kids feeling fuller and they're likely to eat less,” said Gonzales.
Cornell University researchers split 201 kids in grades three through six into four groups.
While watching a 45 minute cartoon, some were asked to snack on vegetables, some cheese, and some got a combination of vegetables and cheese. Another group snacked on potato chips.
It turned out that children who snacked off the combination veggie and cheese plate consumed 72 percent fewer calories than the kids who ate potato chips.
They also needed significantly fewer calories to feel satisfied.
Children who only ate cheese also consumed fewer calories than the potato chip group.
Researchers say swapping unhealthy snack foods like potato chips for nutrient-rich cheese and vegetables could cut a child's caloric intake when snacking.
"I think it always goes back to what's being offered in the home. So, if we do offer more healthful choices like vegetables or cheese versus potato chips your child will actually eat them. It's just about what you have available,” said Gonzales.
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