Those Suprising Kids

Here’s an item for your miracles-can-happen file. It seems that kids are showing a greater inclination to choose healthy foods as snacks. A report by The NPD Group says the usual salty snacks still account for about one-quarter of the snacks kids consume, and confectionary items constitute another 14 percent. But some healthier foods are showing brisk growth. In fact, for younger kids (i.e., the 2-12 cohort), yogurt is the fastest-growing snack food. Kids in the 2-7 age bracket “ate yogurt as a snack nearly 14 times more per person in 2003 than they did in 1999,” while those in the 8-12 range chose it as a snack 8.5 times more. Also showing strong growth were fruit/apple-sauce cups, with the gains again biggest among kids in the 2-7 set. The study noted a corresponding drop in intake of some less-healthy snacks. “Kids ages 8-12 ate fewer snack cakes/cupcakes/ mini-cakes (down 5.7 eatings per person in 2003 vs. 1999), less chewy candy (down 6.1 eatings per person in 2003) and less chocolate candy (down 5.3 eatings per person in 2003), among other things.” While teenagers have been less inclined to reform, granola bars are the fastest-growing snack for that group. Some of the rise in healthy snacking simply reflects an overall rise in snack consumption. Kids ate an average of 22 more snacks in 2003 than in 1999. As the chart below indicates, snacking is a regular accompaniment to some basic kid activities.