Ive been asked quite a few times about my thoughts on the new Change4Life campaign - 100 calorie snacks, two a day max. My thoughts are no different for kids than adults and i believe we shouldn't be counting calories, especially from such a young age when we are in our optimum growth phase. For example, the guidelines are recommending popcorn as a 100 cal snack - this is wrong for two reasons: popcorn has virtually no nutritional value and is more often than not covered in sugar or a sweetener to give it taste. Its looking to fill up the child by it's sheer size, rather than encouraging the child to have a more nutrient dense food which probably has more calories in it, but from fats, so it will keep the child full, so their blood sugar doesn't peak and crash (which it would do after the popcorn - then you'd have a nightmare child on your hands when you tell them "no" they're not allowed to have any more snacks - creating bad eating associations right there!!!) This is mis-educating our children on how and why they should be eating!
A child who is physically active through the day and is happy and healthy shouldn't be forced to "calorie count" because their bodies are self regulating and they usually only eat when they are hungry as they don't have the "negative" association with foods that adults do. Instead they should be taught that we have everything in moderation and we are allowed to have treats in life. 80/20 rule stands as with everything or life would be boring!!!