From the moment a child is born, even before that, bacteria begin to colonise the gut. These trillions of bacteria play a major role in the child’s overall wellbeing throughout their life – everything from digestive health to their immune system, central nervous system and the brain have been shown to be impacted by the child’s gut health.
“Gut health is inextricably linked to nutrition; the foods your child eats can positively, or negatively influence their gut health and therefore their overall well-being.”
Foods which negatively influence the gut include:
- Foods with high levels of refined sugar
- Foods high in preservatives
- Foods high in sulphites
- Food intolerances – gluten, milk, soy, eggs
Foods which positively impact the gut:
- Foods with high levels of dietary fibre – fruits with skin left on, dark green vegetables, whole grains, flax
- Fermented foods – kimchi, miso, sauerkraut
- Prebiotic supplements promote gut health by feeding healthy bacteria
Diversity is key: the more diverse the diet, the more diverse the microbiome and the more adaptable it will be to perturbations. We decided to take a look at snack time around the world to gain some insight into the diversity of childhood nutrition.
In France, children eat ‘Le Gouter’ (the snack) at 4pm, every day without fail.
According to reddit users in the /r/France ‘Le Gouter’ consists of fruits (apples for example, fruit compote too), biscuits like ‘Petits écoliers’, pastries like croissants, pain au chocolat, chaussons aux pommes and chocolate such as kinder and milka.
Image credit : elodiemunsch, Instagram
Reddit user soparamens said you’ll be surprised by how much spice and sour Mexican kids can take.
Image credit: sativaking13_vp, Instagram
Unsurprisingly, the Italians know how to enjoy snack time, opting for delicious homemade treats. Reddit user Minoz99 from Rome told us that during break times, someone called the ‘paninaro’ comes to sell freshly baked panini, focaccia and pizza to the students.
Lunch is often much more substantial than traditional UK school lunch, but kids in Italy are used to a much smaller breakfast.
Image credit: Mirkoeclectic, instagram
In China, kids snack on lots of familiar sweet treats and junk foods, but there are others which are less recognisable;
Latiao for example, one user says kids eat packs and packs of Latiao and describes it as ‘mysterious stuff… drenched in spicy oil, and sold in all convenience stores’.
Image credit: littlelittle_aries, Instagram
In Poland, the sweet treat of choice is the paczki: a donut filled with jam. /r/Poland user Goomich describes the filling: ‘preferably rose jam (but other red fruits are used to).
They’re either bestrewed with powdered sugar or drenched in melted sugar or chocolate’
Image credit: Lodziarniaa, Instagram
Norwegian children have much shorter days at school – according to Norwegian reddit user NorthernSalt, the day starts at 8.30am with lunch at 11 and the end of school is at 2pm. So there’s not really any time for snacks!
They do however, make a mean looking packed lunch called matpakke – open sandwiches and fruit.
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7. United Kingdom
However, cheese strings and crisps still remain firm favourites.
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8. The Philippines
Filipino kids enjoy a sweet, sticky delicacy called Sundot Kulangot sound delicious? Wait ‘till you hear the translation;
Sundot Kulangot literally means ‘picked booger’ and refers to the consistency of this snack sweetened with molasses.Image credit: bebethzkie, Instagram