Fruit and fruit-based snacks can make an important contribution to children’s energy and nutrient needs according to a new research report published by Fruit Bowl.
The research report – Understanding your child’s body clock – by mum of two and independent dietitian Dr Carrie Ruxton and nutritionist and mum Dr Emma Derbyshire, reveals that children have high energy and nutrient needs for their size. This is because they are growing as well as being more active than adults. Hence kids need to snack more during the day to help refuel their bodies.
Mums and dads do their best for their families but are often short of time when it comes to planning meals and snacks, and not all of us are nutrition gurus. In fact, almost three quarters of parents do not know that glucose is the main fuel used by the human brain according to a new research poll commissioned by Fruit Bowl and Little Fruit Bowl. Worse still, 44% of parents incorrectly believed that protein fuelled their child’s brain in the same poll.
ENERGY DIP IMPACTS
Parents are aware, though, of the impact of low energy levels on their children and of the fact that hunger can reduce energy levels. Children are hungry when they get home from school and two thirds of parents surveyed by Fruit Bowl said their child struggled with homework when their energy levels were low.
Hunger also affects children’s moods and 38% of parents surveyed reported that having an after school snack or spending time with a parent put their child in a better frame of mind. In addition, 64% of parents recognised that between-meal snacks could provide energy for children.
Signs reported by parents when kids are hungry
Snacking is certainly very popular with children although confectionery snacks are considerably more popular than fruit. In fact, the latest data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveal that the recommended 5-a-day fruit and vegetables are achieved by only 11% of boys and 8% of girls aged 11-18 years. That means that a staggering 89% of boys and 92% of girls are missing out on the government’s recommended 5-a-day fruit and veg habit.
MOST LOVED AND LOATHED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Research data from Fruit Bowl revealed what kids love or reject when it comes to fruit and vegetable preferences.
Bananas and strawberries come off best, liked by over one third of children (37-38%)
Carrots, peas and sweet corn (liked by 44%, 32% and 30% respectively)
Gooseberries and sprouts were liked the least by children.
Unfortunately this preference for confectionery skews children’s snacking choices towards foods that are high in sugar, saturated fat and salt.
SNACK FOOD SWAPS – DID YOU KNOW?
Switching from sugar confectionary to a fruit-based snack saves 183 calories; 38g of sugars and increases fibre consumption by 1.2g
When chocolate confectionary is swapped with a fruit-based snack, an even greater energy saving of 213 calories is made, with total and saturated fat levels also dropping too
Eating fruit or fruit based snacks also help to refuel children, without providing an excess of these less healthy nutrients. Fruit-based snacks, such as Fruit Bowl® School Bars, are made from the juice and the pulp of fruits and typically count as one portion of 5-A-DAY depending upon the product. They also tend to contain no added sugars.
As we all know sharing time together as a family is special. In the research run by Fruit Bowl, over one-fifth (21%) of parents said that sharing a meal with their family was the most special part of a day. Reading a bedtime story, playing with their kids and seeing their kids first thing in the morning also ticked the box for quality time.
These findings highlight the fun and happy times that parents and their children have together. By encouraging children to snack on healthier options, parents can improve the balance of their children’s diets as well as providing optimal energy levels across busy days.
Fruit Bowl can help and support parents to do this. The irresistibly tasty and fun to eat fruit snacks are low in fat, yet made with real fruit, giving mums and dads the option of a healthier alternative to crisps and chocolate.