Did you know that mid-morning hunger can make it difficult for your child to concentrate? And that the wrong snacks can be unhealthy for your child in the long run? It is, therefore, extremely important to choose healthy snacks for your child.
By 10:00am, the child is likely to start feeling hungry and hunger pangs can cause him or her to become irritable and lose concentration. As such, it is important for your child to have a healthy snack between breakfast and lunch.
However, parents often pack junk foods that contain the wrong type of fat and highly-refined flour; and beverages that contain a lot of sugar and are highly acidic.
While no one can deny the fact that these foods are convenient to pack, smell, taste and appear good, they are unhealthy for children in the long run.
Why are the mentioned ingredients bad for your child?
To start with, often a child will take an acidic beverage when he/she is hungry (on an empty stomach).
Consuming an acidic beverage on an empty stomach may cause intestinal irritation that could lead to ulcers. Also the high amount of sugar and acidity provides a perfect condition for the growth of germs that cause tooth decay, while the wrong type of fat and refined flour may in the long run promote heart and blood vessel disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. At the moment, this may sound far-fetched. Do not be fooled, the danger is real.
There is also another fact to consider; the high sugar content and refined flour in junk food and beverages can cause low blood sugar. Here is what may happen:
Immediately after eating or drinking, the blood sugar rises. The child may experience a sense of well-being and a burst of energy.
However, such a feeling and energy are short-lived because the body turns these refined ingredients into glucose rather fast.
As such, the body tends to use up the glucose quickly. As a result, your child may experience low blood sugar. Low blood sugar could cause your child to become irritable, nervous and would easily interfere with concentration. The final effect of junk foods and beverages can be counter-productive to your childâ€™s education. Hence, carefully choose your childâ€™s snacks.
Here is a list of foods that are considered to be non-foods and those that are not good for your child:
Coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, sodas, colas and all those colourful sugary soft drinks, including candy, are non-foods (They contain empty energy).
Cakes, biscuits, cookies, white bread are considered poor choices because they contain high amounts of sugar, the wrong type of fat, and highly-refined white flour (ingredients that may cause the above mentioned diseases).
Here is a shortlist of some recommended snacks: Roasted soya beans and groundnuts, sim sim seeds and balls and sun flower seeds .
Pack bottled water. (Often children get dehydrated. Dehydration can easily interfere with concentration and affect academic performance). For those in day schools, you could pack a bottle of clean boiled water, sugar cane, jack fruit or pealed mango in a small plastic container, roasted sweat potato, chapatti, boiled egg or ripe banana.
Encourage your child to purchase healthy snacks from school vendors.
Mind what you pack for your child