What is the most successful way to reward your children with a snack now and again without them turning into a snack junkie? That was the question (more or less) that a paper published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) tries to address.
In the paper, the researchers looked at the way mothers gave snacks to their daughters, whether they restricted them completely, partially (restricting high sugar snacks) or gave free access and how this affected their body mass index (BMI) and eating in the absence of hunger at ages 5 and 7.
And the findings? Well, it turns out that the girls own inhibitory control plays a major role. Girls with low inhibitory control gained the most weight in terms of BMI between the ages of 5 and 7 when they were subjected to the totally restricted or unrestricted feeding regimes, suggesting a middle ground in terms of snack restriction would be better for them.
It would appear that helping the children to develop their own sense of self regulation is the way to go, and if anyone remembers that blog we published back in 2011, its better to give them the snack they know.