Memories and thoughts about snacks for children

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I often tell my friends about my childhood and some particular food connected with good memories. For me it was “Pane e Pomodoro”, a slice of bread rubbed with ripe tomatoes and finished with salt and olive oil. During summer, I used to go to my grandparents’ house near the sea, and I remember my mum giving me my pane e pomodoro after swimming in the afternoon. I also remember other kids asking  their parents for some ice cream as their afternoon snack, while I was so happy devouring my pane e pomodoro. Simple but amazing at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, I would have loved ice cream too, but my parents tried to feed me the healthiest options they could, so I was not really allowed to eat ice cream everyday as my young peers did.

Then we grow up, unfortunately, and we just go on, distracted by daily life. We don’t really think about these memories until one day, when something occurs and we start to remember about our past and think about our current habits. One winter afternoon of 2010, I was on the bus heading to Trafalgar Square when my attention was caught by a grandfather with his 6-7 year old grandson. The kid was hungry, so his grandfather gave him a Mars bar, which was devoured in literally three seconds, and after that the kid was fed a Milky Way bar. At that point the bus arrived at my stop and I got off, but I kept wondering if that kid had a third chocolate bar. It’s not just that episode that made me think, as I often see toddlers eating MacDonald’s in their strollers. Now, it goes without saying that allowing young children to frequently eat junk food is equivalent to give them wrong eating habits, which are likely to cause significant health repercussions.

I can only base my opinions on my personal experience and on what I see when travelling around the world, so it would be interesting to find out about how snacking habits change in each country. For example, I noticed that English native speakers tend to snack on chocolate or cake while Asians children are less likely to consume the same amount of sweet goods.

Let’s be clear, I don’t have a healthy food obsession, as sometimes I indulge myself in snacks I should not eat, but I am proud to say I have good eating habits thanks to my parents and the way they raised me. I am not really sure about what happens in other countries, but the increase in childhood obesity makes me think that parents should put more efforts in raising their children in order to become responsible adults.

I think I’m definitely going to have pane e pomodoro for dinner tonight.

Image Credits here.
And now in Italian

Spesso racconto ai miei amici di com’è stata la mia infanzia e di alcuni ricordi legati ad un cibo in particolare. Per me è la merenda con Pane e Pomodoro. Durante le vacanze estive, andavo spesso a casa dei miei nonni al mare, e ricordo che ogni pomeriggio, mia mamma mi preparava pane e pomodoro al ritorno dalla spiaggia. Un sapore semplicissimo, ma era così buono! Mi ricordo anche che, mentre io divoravo felicemente il mio pane e pomodoro, gli altri bambini chiedevano ai loro genitori di poter fare merenda con il gelato. Anche io avrei voluto mangiarlo, ma i miei genitori hanno sempre preferito scelte più sane per la mia alimentazione, ecco perché non mi era permesso mangiare quotidianamente il gelato come facevano i miei coetanei.

Poi cresciamo, sfortunatamente, e ci facciamo distrarre dalla vita di tutti giorni. Non facciamo più caso a questi ricordi, fino a che un giorno qualcosa ci fa improvvisamente pensare al nostro passato e alle nostre abitudini attuali. Un pomeriggio d’inverno del 2010 ero sull’autobus che andava a Trafalgar Square, quando la mia attenzione è stata attirata da un nonno e suo nipote di 6 o 7 anni. Il bambino aveva fame e il nonno aveva prontamente scartato una barretta di Mars, che era stata divorata in pochissimo tempo. Qualche secondo dopo al bambino era stata data un’altra barretta, stavolta una Milky Way. A quel punto ero arrivata alla mia fermata, ma ricordo di essermi chiesta se quel nonno avesse fatto dato a suo nipote una terza barretta di cioccolato. Non è stato solo quell’episodio a farmi riflettere, perché vedo spesso bambini piccoli che mangiano MacDonald’s nei loro passeggini. Ora, è chiaro che permettere ai bambini di consumare frequentemente del cibo spazzatura equivale a dare loro delle cattive abitudini alimentari, che potrebbero avere delle notevoli ripercussioni sulla salute.

Le mie opinioni si basano solo sulla mia esperienza personale o su quello che mi circonda quando viaggio, perciò mi piacerebbe sapere come si fa merenda negli altri paesi. Per esempio, ho notato che i bambini di origine anglofona mangiano moltissima cioccolata o torte, mentre gli asiatici consumano molti meno dolci.

Giusto per essere chiari, non sono una persona ossessionata da cibi sani, anche perché molte volte mi concedo degli snack che non dovrei mangiare, ma sono orgogliosa delle abitudini alimentari che i miei genitori mi hanno trasmesso. Non so cosa accada di preciso negli altri paesi, ma a giudicare dall’alto tasso di obesità infantile, penso che i genitori debbano impegnarsi notevolmente per far sì che i loro bambini diventino degli adulti responsabili.

Penso proprio che mangerò pane e pomodoro per cena.

Image Credits here.

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3 thoughts on “Memories and thoughts about snacks for children

  1. For my (Italian) boyfriend an ideal snack would be pane e olio, whereas I grew up with the Mars bar mentality. Often we eat with two different snacks, savoury and sweet, on the table. It’s hard to break the habits of a lifetime!

  2. I very much agree with everything written here. I grew up in a household where very little junk food was kept in the house and I’m really grateful to my mother for instilling the importance of a healthy diet. When I see very small children eating all kinds of junk food, it really makes me sad, especially if they are already on the heavy side. I think the worst thing I ever saw was a mother pouring Pepsi into a baby’s bottle and feeding it to him. The poor kid was probably only 6 months old, talk about starting bad habits early!

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