I agree with the "It's not snacking, it's *what* the snack is"...AND somewhat with the "what's up with the *constant* snacking anyway?"
I can see the snack and lunch *both* provided at my son's preschool, even though he is only there from 9-12:15. It's integrated with HeadStart. There might be children in his class who literally do not have food to eat for breakfast before they come to school. So there's the snack when they come in. And there's lunch before they go. (also some kids ride the bus for an hour, and some come from daycare--their last meal could've been a couple hours before school at that rate and probably a quick piece of toast and fruit or something...if it wasn't processed, packaged, grabbable junk.)
I also get after-school programs serving a snack--it's been a good 3 hours since lunch by the time they get there, and 2-3 before they will go home, where someone will have to cook the dinner, if they don't go through the drive-through.
BUT. Here is the but. My son's school doesn't do this...but some of you are saying your schools do. The thing is, if you are seriously serving a snack because you think the kids do not get to eat before they come, serve FOOD. Serve a mini-meal. Do *not* serve a donut/cookie/processed sweet snack, and juice.
My son's class has cereal and milk on Mondays. (low-sugar, non-colored) One other day a week is *usually* veggies with dip and some sort of cracker. (this to me needs a protien, but PB is out, and I think cheese is out due to fat b/c of the ranch dip, according to their rules) Other snacks include a muffin or baked bar (not pre-packaged) and fruit, a cheese stick with crackers, cheese sandwich, graham cracker and fruit...mostly some decent stuff. (other than the pre-mentioned lack of protein sometimes, but they have milk with their snacks quite a bit, so there's at least some there.)
One of my kids' fav. snacks is cheese and crackers and fruit. Easy, and I don't know too many kids who would *not* eat that....that is what I think *most* after-school snacks should look like. Some sort of protein, fruit/and or veggie, treats occasionally.
I agree too with the "what's up with the CONSTANT snacks?" I can see it for a soccer game, the oranges and water. Lots of fluids. But junk juice and junk snacks? NO! just seems to send the wrong message about health with the activity.
And it shouldn't be a family financial cost thing....it's *got* to be cheaper, or equal to provide a big bag of oranges, sliced, and water. Even if you buy ind. bottles!
I don't think *everything* needs a snack...we didn't do this when I was a kid either---the vacation bible school thing I went to had a snack, but it was 3-4 hours long. A 2 hour meeting involving kids occuring after lunch should not need a snack unless it is something like Girl scouts getting a cooking badge, or somebody brings a treat because it's their b-day or whatever.
I don't think kids need to *expect* to be fed whereever they go...I think it teaches somewhat that it's OK to not eat what's served because you'll get something better in an hour or so...
AND I think it contributes to obesity...because....like a PP said, you don't hand a hungry kid a fruit-roll-up. (or some candy fruit snacks, or whatever) It will not fill them up. It will give them extra sugar, and an extra bunch of calories. (and in the end, they will probably eat more calories overall than if they'd just gone home for lunch without it)
While we are on the subject of snacks and food....most of this processed junk too requires little effort to eat it, chewing, etc. I think that too might be part of the obesity epidemic....I read somewhere that foods that require more chewing--think even a steak, not just salads or raw fruits and veggies, the chewing actually adds to our sense of how full we are....and we're satisfied sooner.
So...by this theory, people will eat more of the foods that require less chewing, and they also tend to pack more calories....which of course make us fatter.
Score another point for fruit slices and veggie sticks over Twinkies....