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Veggies and Cheese as Filling as Chips For Kids, With Fewer Calories

TUESDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In a new study, children who were given combined snacks of cheese and vegetables consumed far fewer calories than those who had potato chips, and they were just as satisfied with their snack.

The study, which was published online and in the January print issue of the journal Pediatrics, included more than 200 elementary school students who were divided into groups and given different types of snacks -- chips, vegetables, cheese, or a cheese-and-vegetable combination -- to eat while they watched an hour of television.

The children who had the cheese-and-vegetable combination consumed 72 percent fewer calories than those who had chips. The difference in calorie consumption was even higher among overweight children.

The researchers, from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., also found that the children who had the cheese-and-vegetable combination were just as satisfied with their snack as those who had chips.

"That is really the key take away -- that you can substitute the healthier snack without a total rebellion on the kids' part," study co-author Adam Brumberg, a research specialist at Cornell, said in a university news release.

Brumberg's co-author, Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing at the university, agreed.

"Snack combos are fun to eat, and they take longer to eat than potato chips," Wansink said in the news release. "This is why kids find them satisfying and why they eat so much less."

"There is no magic food or ingredient that will end childhood obesity, but learning to substitute certain foods ... 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."

The study was funded by Bell Brands, the maker of the cheese used in the research.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about children's snacks.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Cornell University, news release, Dec. 17, 2012

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