Chocolates For Kids - Good Or Bad
Chocolate tastes amazing! Do you know dark chocolate is loaded with soluble fibre and essential minerals? While some restraint is needed, a little of the sweet delight is good for your child.
By Team ParentCircle
Have you ever surprised your little one by taking a bar of chocolate out of your pocket and offering it to her? If so, you must have seen her bursting with delight. Most children have a sweet tooth and love chocolates like crazy. But is eating chocolates healthy for them? Let us find out.
Is chocolate good or bad for kids?
The Mayans considered chocolate to be the 'food of the Gods'. But many parents across the world consider this yummy delight to be a rather sinful indulgence which their children can do without. What if we told you that letting your child have limited quantities of chocolate is not such a bad idea, after all? From instilling positive thoughts to helping them with their math, this guilty pleasure has its surprising benefits.
Benefits of chocolates for children
Here are 10 ways in which your child can benefit from consuming this sweet treat.
1. Forging a bond between child and parent
Parents tend to use chocolates to celebrate their child's achievements big or small or as encouragement to perform better the next time. This interaction fosters a sense of positivity, creating a strong and happy bond between the child and the parent. This sugar-coated little show of support will go a long way in boosting your child's morale.
2. Pleasing picky eaters
Children are known to be picky eaters. They prefer sweet food items over other less palatable ones. Take the example of milk. Not many children will drink it without kicking up a fuss. But stir in some cocoa and it will go down without a protest. If your child is averse to eating fruits, chocolate can come to the rescue. Dip the fruits in a wee bit of the melted variety and watch your child polish them all off in a jiffy.
3. Creating the post chocolate buzz
The anticipation of having chocolate itself makes children quite giddy with excitement. Once they are done with their meal, treating them with a small square of chocolate will release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemical and this will keep them content for some time. The happy buzz given by this sweet substance is known to be long lasting.
4. Improving mathematical skills
If your child is having problems with his math homework, chocolate may be the answer to his problem. Chocolate contains flavanols, which are known to increase blood flow to the brain. The Telegraph published that researchers in the UK found flavanols improved mathematical skills. Those students who binged on chocolate while solving math problems, did them accurately and were less likely to feel tired, the study said.
5. Being in a state of ‘ananda’
You might think that children are immune to the feeling of stress. But the daily grind can get to them as well. This is where a small piece of chocolate can help your child relax. Chocolate contains a compound called Anandamide which derives its name from the Sanskrit word 'ananda' meaning joy or bliss. This compound activates the same receptors of the brain as marijuana and helps bring down stress levels.
6. Avoiding junk food
Chocolate even when consumed in small quantities can be quite filling. As a parent, one of the biggest worries you have is the amount of junk food that goes into your child's system. Dark chocolate is considered to be a healthy snacking option and when given in small doses can be a good alternative to chips and fries.
7. Giving much-needed energy
Chocolate has gained a bad reputation and is considered to be a potential cause for diabetes. But dark chocolate is loaded with soluble fibre and many essential minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium and copper. It is also a great source of energy and a moderate amount can give a much-needed boost to your child’s energy levels.
8. Getting creative
Chocolate lends itself to creativity and with a little bit of imagination, you can plan some really fun activities around it. So take some of the melted chocolate and create flowers, make toppings for cupcakes or simply make some delicate sculptures using moulds. Your child will remember this fun activity for a long time.
9. Protecting the heart
Chocolate is known to fight against heart disease. It contains flavonoids which are antioxidants and help improve the health of the heart. Chocolate is also said to fight against bad cholesterol and so consuming a little once in a while, will keep the bad stuff away for a long time.
10. Making friends for life
Lastly, no child will ever say no to chocolate! If you feel that your child is finding it difficult to make friends encourage him to share chocolate with his classmates. It will teach him the benefits of sharing and also serve as a great icebreaker!
How to choose the right chocolates for kids
- Check if the chocolates that you choose for your kids are caffeine-free.
- It is best to buy chocolates that have low fat, sugar and milk content in them.
- The darker the chocolate the better. This type of chocolate will have lesser sugar and other additives.
- If you are worried about your child eating too much of chocolates, you can opt to give him chocolate-flavoured biscuits or ice cream occasionally.
How much chocolate should a child eat?
There is no hard and fast information about the right quantity of chocolate a child can eat. However, chocolate if eaten in reasonable amounts is beneficial to your child mentally as well as physically. Just ensure that your child does not binge on them which can result in problems such as obesity and tooth decay.
Best chocolates for kids
You can find different types of chocolates in the local market which your kids would love to gorge on. Some of the popular types of chocolates are milk chocolate or white chocolate, dark chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, ground chocolate and chocolate liqueur.
To find out about some of the world’s best chocolates for kids and the countries where they are produced, read:
While there is no denying that chocolate tastes amazing, it has to be had in moderation. So the next time at the supermarket, indulge your child with a bar of dark chocolate without fretting!
About the author:
Written by Team ParentCircle on 26 February 2018; updated on 22 May 2020
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