Our expert says:
Thank you for your very kind words, they make my day! It is indeed a problem that children love chips or crisps and sweets, but who can blame them when these snack foods have been specifically designed to cause a state of semi-addiction because they contain high levels of fat and sugar which are nutrients that humans crave (due to centuries, if not millennia of scarcity). The alluring tastes also contribute to getting us hooked at an early age. Then there is the problem of peer pressure - if all their friends are eating these forbidden delights, it is very difficult for children to resist the allure of high-fat and high-sugar snacks. Basically I think your children are old enough for you to sit down and discuss the problem of snack foods with them. Ask them how they think they can control their intake to prevent unwanted weight gain, salt overload and tooth decay. If they can agree out of their own volition to limit their snacks (only on weekends, or only when you go out or only twice a week) then this would be a very positive step in their development. They would take responsibility for controlling how many snacks they eat. It's worth a try. Stick to your prohibition on sweetened cold drinks, as the intake of liquid sugary drinks and even excessive intake of fruit juices, have been associated with the increase in obesity in children and teenagers to a greater degree than solid sweetened foods.
According to international tables, 8-year-old boys require approx. 4600 kJ per day and 11-year-old girls 5400 kJ per day. I think that you could provide slightly more kJ for your son who is slender and very active and slightly less for your daughter who tends to be a bit overweight. I would also recommend that you read the articles on 'Diets for schoolchildren' and 'Healthy lunch boxes' which you can access by clicking on 'Diet' at the top of this page and then on 'DietDoc's articles' and check out the articles on child nutrition. Healthy snacks and lunch box items include low-fat, yoghurt, flavoured low-fat milk, fresh and dried fruit, wholewheat or brown bread sandwiches, small portions of nuts or lean biltong (droë wors is very high in fat), high-bran muffins, cottage cheese and fresh vegetables like carrots, baby tomatoes, and any other veg your children like.
I hope this helps
I hope this helps
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