Veggie and Cheese Combo Snacks Make Kids Eat Fewer Calories

girl eating
Researchers claim that smaller plates encourage kids to eat less. Reuters/Rick Wilking

Snacks that combine vegetables and cheese may help kids consume fewer calories, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Cornell University found that children served the combination snack ate 72 percent fewer calories than those who were given only potato chips.

"Snack combos are fun to eat, and they take longer to eat than potato chips. This is why kids find them satisfying and why they eat so much less," marketing professor Brian Wansink of the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, said in a statement.

Researchers involved in the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, served 201 elementary school students either potato chips, vegetables, cheese, or vegetables-and-cheese while watching an hour of television.

Researchers found that kids served the cheese and vegetable combination snack ate 72 percent fewer calories than kids given chips, and that the result was even more apparent in heavier children.

Furthermore, researchers said that children reported being just as satisfied after eating the cheese and veggie combo as other kids who ate potato chips.

"That is really the key take-away-that you can substitute the healthier snack without a total rebellion on the kids' part," researcher Adam Brumberg said in a statement.

Researchers said the latest study, which was sponsored by Bell Brands of cheese, was inspired by the White House's "Let's Move" program to promote healthy eating.

"There is no magic food or ingredient that will end childhood obesity, but learning to substitute certain foods-such as choosing a combination snack of vegetables and cheese instead of potato chips or sweets-can be an effective tool to induce children to reduce their caloric intake while snacking," Wansink said.

"What's cool is this worked best for the heaviest, pickiest kids. Its fun to eat and it makes snack time last longer," he added.

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