Hey Plant-Based Mamas and Papas!
Raisins (and other dried fruits) seem like such a healthy snack for kids. Sweet, tasty, and natural…
…but are they really a good choice to give our children?
After all, dried fruit is higher in calories/serving than fresh, and that might lead to weight gain.
For adults, the effects seem neutral. Adding a cup of raisins per day to men and women’s diets for six weeks led to no meaningful change in weight or waist size.
And for kids?
On the surface, a recent study appears to set the matter to rest. The California Raisin Marketing Board sponsored a study, and the results suggest that raisins are an ideal afternoon snack, lowering total food consumption in young test subjects.
There’s just one problem…They were comparing the results to consumption of potato chips and cookies as alternatives. Not much of a control group, hey? It doesn’t take much to be healthier than deep fried potato chips!
Similarly, another study demonstrated that raisin consumption might lower blood sugar—but only compared to cookies. Yet another proved raisins to be healthier than soda and candy.
That doesn’t tell us anything, really.
But finally we have a legitimate study with meaningful results. Children age nine to eleven were given all the grapes or raisins they wanted thirty minutes before a meal. At that meal, they were offered all the pizza they could eat.
If they had just the meal—with no snack beforehand—they consumed an average of 840 calories of pizza. Add the unlimited grapes, and they ate around 120 calories of that, but less pizza. Their overall calorie intake was higher, but a portion of those calories came from fruit—which, of course, is preferable to pizza.
The most interesting results have to do with the raisins. Allowing the children as many raisins as they wanted, researchers found that they consumed even more calories from their snack than with grapes, but then ate so much less pizza that their overall calorie intake was lower.
This clearly indicates that raisins make for an incredibly satisfying snack for children.
And no need to worry about spoiling our children’s appetites with fruit, when fruit is the healthiest meal out there!
Want to learn more about plant-based nutrition? I’ve created Wild Donna: Your 30-Day Revolution to Plant-Based Vitality to support you and your family to discover your best health and thrive…check it out today!
B P Patel, N Bellissimo, B Luhovyy, L J Bennett, E Hurton, J E Painter, G H Anderson. An after-school snack of raisins lowers cumulative food intake in young children. J Food Sci. 2013 Jun;78 Suppl 1:A5-A10.
J W Anderson, K M Weiter, A L Christian M B Ritchey, H E Bays. Raisins compared with other snack effects on glycemia and blood pressure: a randomized, controlled trial. Postgrad Med. 2014 Jan;126(1):37-43.
B P Patel, B Luhovyy, R Mollard, J E Painter, G H Anderson. A premeal snack of raisins decreases mealtime food intake more than grapes in young children. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013 Apr;38(4):382-9.
D R Keast, C E O’Neil, J M Jones. Dried fruit consumption is associated with improved diet quality and reduced obesity in US adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999-2004. Nutr Res. 2011 Jun;31(6):460-7.