Are Snacks During Class Bad?

by Maggie McCormick

Most students must wait several hours between meals, and snacks can help them make it through to the next meal. This could be especially true for students who skip breakfast or have to wait a bit longer until lunch. Snack policies vary widely from school to school and class to class, so it's important to know where your child's teacher stands on the issue.

Snacking Advantages

If it's been a long time since your child last ate, his body starts to turn off, making him less focused. By eating a snack during class, he can boost his energy and regain that focus. In situations where the school provides the snacks, children are often exposed to healthy foods that they may not try otherwise due to the family's budget or parental preferences. Teachers can present healthy snacks in an appealing way, such as pairing creamy dips with vegetables or arranging fruits in a whimsical shape, to encourage healthy eating. When your child eats healthy snacks in the early years, it can set him up for making healthy choices later in life as well.

Snacking Pitfalls

Snacking, during class, may take time away from dedicated teaching time. In cases where only a few students are snacking on something they've brought from home, it can create a distraction among the students. All snacks can potentially make a mess that the teacher may be responsible for cleaning.

Snack Time

The most convenient way to handle snacking in class is to have a dedicated snack time when everyone in the class eats a snack, whether it's provided by the school or brought from home. This becomes difficult once a child leaves elementary school, though, as she'll be moving from class to class. If the teacher allows it, the student can eat a snack during class time, but it may be best to stick with easy-to-eat snacks that she can sneak in between classes.

Types of Snacks

The type of snack that your child eats is a factor in whether snacks, during class, are good or bad. Junk food snacks, such as chips or candy, may provide an initial boost of energy but can cause an energy crash later on. The extra calories also add up over time, which can lead to weight gain. On the other hand, healthy snacks, like fruits, vegetables with creamy dip and whole grains, can provide a more sustainable energy source, along with essential vitamins and minerals.

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About the Author

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.

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