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NUTRITION

Ninety-four per cent of mothers pan-India rank almonds healthiest snack
Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
A recent survey by market research company Ipsos pointed out the following study: 94 per cent of mothers ranked almonds as the healthiest form of snacking.

It added that 85 per cent of parents included almonds in their children’s diets either regularly or often.

“Snacking conjured up images of something crunchy, nutritious and healthy,” according to the majority of urban affluent parents, who wished to toss out junk food and make snack time happy and healthy for their kids.

According to the Ipsos survey, about 83 per cent of respondents felt that their kids remained more energetic throughout the day after consuming almonds.

It aimed to understand the snacking habits of children aged between six and 14 from their parents’ perspective in Tier-I and Tier-II cities, and whether they were driven by taste or nutrition, or both.

The results indicated a growing preference for healthy snacking. However, taste was still a major criterion.

A total of 3,038 affluent urban parents aged between 23 and 55 were interviewed across Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Bhopal and Coimbatore.

Urban affluent parents strove to make their children’s snacks yummy, hot and crispy, while also wanting them to be healthy, crunchy, and nutritious, indicating a positive shift in mindset towards healthy snacking.

Delhi-based nutritionist Ritika Samaddar said, “This study indicates a promising trend towards healthy snacking, with an increasing number of affluent parents in urban centres seeing long-term value in maintaining a healthy family lifestyle that includes healthy snacking for their children.”

“By motivating children to take part in active sports and including healthier snacking options like a handful of almonds every day, parents can play an effective role in their children’s healthy future,” she added.    

Parents believed that almonds helped to boost brain development and were essential for healthy and stronger bones, in addition to providing the daily dose of energy.

The findings from the survey also revealed that kids tended to snack more when they were hungry, followed by when they are happy or excited.

Further, 94 per cent of the urban affluent parents polled in Mumbai stated that they chose healthier options of snacking for their children all the time, followed by Delhi (92 per cent), Nagpur (92 per cent) and Coimbatore (87 per cent).

Bengaluru-based diet, nutrition and wellness consultant Sheela Krishnaswamy said, “Snacking is an effective way to fit the much-needed nutrients into your child’s diet, and if the right kind of food is offered at the right time, snacks can play an important role in managing kids’ hunger and boosting nutrition.”

“Hence, it is important to incorporate healthy snacking habits by munching on healthier options like fruits or sprouts or a handful of almonds that promote the feeling of fullness, while also keeping your child energised through the day,” she added.

“Almonds are a natural source of many essential nutrients, including protein and healthy fats, making them a nutrient-rich snack for your kids,” Krishnaswamy stated .

Furthermore, the survey showed an interesting preference between Tier-I and Tier-II cities for branded versus homemade snacks.

While 50 per cent of the kids in Tier-I cities preferred branded foods, such as two-minute noodles and oats, followed by unbranded foods such as pani puri, half the surveyed kids in Tier-II cities preferred homemade food.  

Across cities, fruits, biscuits, and almonds were found to be the three most popular snacking options that parents preferred between meals and when hunger struck their children.

Not surprisingly, 91 per cent of mothers in Tier-I cities and 97 per cent in Tier-II cities ranked almonds to be their first choice for their children as far as healthier snacking options were concerned.

Mumbai-based nutritionist Madhuri Ruia said, “Healthy eating is quite essential for a child's growth and development.”
“Ensuring that your little one is receiving all of the essential vitamins, minerals, protein and calories that he/she needs to grow strong and healthy isn’t always easy,” she added.

“Yet, it's important to teach these healthy eating habits early on, considering childhood obesity and diabetes are on rise on account of unhealthy snacking and a sedentary lifestyle,” Ruia said.

“In this context, the survey findings indicating a higher preference for healthy snacks for children, such as fruits and nuts like almonds, across cities and regions are encouraging,” she added.

Samaddar said, “Healthy snacking also helps to prevent overeating during meals, provides more energy, aids in concentration and keeps children feeling satisfied between breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

“Hence, keeping some almonds handy in a tiffin box enables your kid to always have access to their perfect daily portion and pairing these nuts with fruits, or including them in other snacks can make for a wholesome and filling snack,” she added.

“In fact, snacking on almonds instead of consuming unwholesome snacks can bring a healthy difference to your family’s lifestyle,” Samaddar said.

Other findings of the survey
Eighty-eight per cent of parents in India’s Tier-II cities preferred healthy snacking for their children.

The survey stated that while 84 per cent of parents in Tier-I cities planned their children’s meals, 75 per cent of parents in Tier-II cities did the same.

While 70 per cent of the respondents opined that evenings were the most preferred time for snacking nationally, 32 per cent and 26 per cent of them, respectively, stated that they preferred to snack in the mid-mornings or afternoons.

“The southern cities of Bengaluru and Coimbatore preferred evenings as the suitable time for snacking,” the survey pointed out.

“However, Mumbai and Hyderabad find mid-mornings more suitable for snacking,” it added.
 
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