Healthy Kids

Is Chocolate Healthy for Kids?

Did you hear that chocolate is good for adults … Is chocolate good for children? What about chocolate milk? What is the healthiest way to eat chocolate? What are the vulgarities of chocolate and caffeine? We are answering all your questions about your child’s health and favorite desserts (some of which he doesn’t know how to ask).
When your child bites Santa’s chocolate head or wanders around with plastic snacks filled with plastic pumpkins nearby, he may not take into account chocolate’s health effects.

close-up partial view of smiling child holding pieces of sweet chocolate with hazelnuts

Did you hear that chocolate is good for adults … Is chocolate good for children? What about chocolate milk? What is the healthiest way to eat chocolate? What are the vulgarities of chocolate and caffeine? We are answering all your questions about your child’s health and favorite desserts (some of which he doesn’t know how to ask).
When your child bites Santa’s chocolate head or wanders around with plastic snacks filled with plastic pumpkins nearby, he may not take into account chocolate’s health effects.

Like all snacks, chocolate is basically a fact in life. It is creamy, delicious, and we know that we should not let our children eat unlimited amounts.

However, chocolate differs from other types of candy in that chocolate can have unique health benefits. You may have heard “good for your heart.” Is that good for children? How should we eat chocolate to maximize our health? Should we draw a line between the food we encourage and the food we strictly limit?
What are the health benefits of chocolate?
Chocolate contains a special antioxidant called flavonols that can help protect our heart and brain. In one study, cocoa beans had higher levels of antioxidant tests than blueberries and acai berries!

Flavonols can reduce cell damage and inflammation, and eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and even a person’s cognitive impairment.

You might think, well, my son is too young to worry about high cholesterol. I hope you’re right. However, one of our goals here is to lay the groundwork for developing good habits to protect children’s health throughout their lives. If you can let your children eat dark chocolate as a child, their back pockets will always receive this nutritious treatment. (Literally. It will melt completely).

What are the nutritional disadvantages of chocolate?
Now, throw less news. Most of the chocolates you can buy in stores contain a lot of sugar. (Surprisingly, nobody is surprised). It is well known that excess sugar increases the risk of obesity and diabetes, even in children.
Chocolate is also often packaged with unhealthy ingredients, such as hydrogenated oils, especially in popular brands of candy bars. (Check the label! Many companies are gradually eliminating this unhealthy oil, but it still appears.)

In the end, too much chocolate can (unfortunately) squeeze out the important food groups that children really need to stay healthy. Therefore, although a small amount of dark chocolate may improve children’s antioxidant capacity, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and protein foods should still be given priority.
Is chocolate milk healthy for children?
In most school canteens in the United States, chocolate milk is an option (and very popular) for lunch. The position of nutritionists related to the dairy industry is that chocolate milk meets the nutritional requirements and the health benefits of milk outweigh the potential problems of adding sugar to flavorings.

Personally, we are not used to using commercially produced chocolate milk as a daily drink. This is because a serving of chocolate milk contains approximately 12 grams or three teaspoons of added sugar. This is half of the recommended amount of added sugar for our children at one time. Then it really adds up!

Some children may refuse unflavored milk, while parents worry about their nutritional deficiency. For these children, cheese and yogurt are a good option, as they provide similar nutrition compared to chocolate milk without the need for excess sugar. (Remember, some yogurts may also contain a lot of sugar! If you want to minimize sugar, choose plain yogurt or low-sugar brands like Siggi).
How much caffeine is in chocolate?
Some people are surprised to discover that caffeine is contained in chocolate. But the caffeine content in chocolate is very low and generally does not require children to worry.

The more cocoa solids the chocolate has, the deeper it becomes and the higher the caffeine content. Dark chocolate generally contains about 25 mg of caffeine per serving. Milk chocolate contains only 9 mg. (In comparison, one cup of coffee contains approximately 95 mg of caffeine.)

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