Healthy Cheese Lady

Children Need Cheese

Children need cheese

Many of you know that I wrote a book about childhood obesity in 2012.  This study was published later, so I didn’t cite it in the book.  I’m impressed with group four.  They consumed 72 percent fewer calories than group one and still felt full.


About the study:  201 children entering the third to sixth grades were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 snacking conditions: (1) potato chips only, (2) cheese-only, (3) vegetables only, and (4) cheese and vegetables. Children were allowed to eat snacks freely provided while watching 45-minute TV programs. Satiety was measured before they started eating snacks, in the middle of the study, and 20 minutes after they finished eating the snacks. Parents completed a questionnaire regarding their family environment.

1. Potato chips and Cheetos: Each child was given plain Pringles/Lays chips in a tube and Crunchy Cheetos in a medium-size bag; ∼1500 kcal

2. Vegetables only: Each child was given 2 cups of uncooked bite-size broccoli, 2 cups of baby carrots, and 2 cups of bell pepper strips; ∼120 kcal

3. Cheese only: Each child was given six 17-g cheese wedges and six 20-g cheese rounds; ∼370 kcal

4. Vegetables and cheese: This group was given six 17-g cheese wedges and six 20-g cheese rounds + 1 cup of each of the 3 vegetables noted above; ∼490 kcal


Published online December 17, 2012 PEDIATRICS Vol. 131 No. 1 January 1, 2013 pp. 22 -29 (doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3895)

Researcher Brian Wansink, Ph.D., Cornell University’s Food Lab: December 2012


Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink, Ph.D.

Want your children to eat more nutritional snacks? Serve them vegetables and cheese instead of potato chips — they will eat up to 72 percent fewer calories and be just as satisfied, reports a new Cornell study published online in the journal Pediatrics.

“Snack combos are fun to eat, and they take longer to eat than potato chips. This is why kids find them satisfying and why they eat so much less,” said Brian Wansink, professor of marketing at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

In the study, which will be published in January, 201 elementary school students were given all of the potato chips, vegetables, cheese, or vegetables-and-cheese they wanted while watching an hour of television. Those given the cheese-vegetable combo ate 72 percent fewer calories than those given chips. This result was even stronger for heavier children.

Wansink and his co-authors, Cornell postdoctoral researcher Mitsuru Shimizu and research support specialist Adam Brumberg ’86, also found that children reported being just as satisfied after eating a vegetable-and-cheese snack as they did after eating chips. “That is really the key takeaway — that you can substitute the healthier snack without a total rebellion on the kids’ part,” Brumberg said.

“This was inspired by the White House’s ‘Let’s Move’ program to encourage healthier eating,” said Wansink. The study was sponsored by Bell Brands of cheese, which were the single-served wheels and wedges used in study.

“There is no magic food or ingredient that will end childhood obesity, but learning to substitute certain foods — such as choosing a combination snack of vegetables and cheese instead of potato chips or sweets — can be an effective tool to induce children to reduce their caloric intake while snacking,” Wansink said. “What’s cool is this worked best for the heaviest, pickiest kids. It’s fun to eat, and it makes snack time last longer.”

To help children eat fewer calories when snacking, the researchers suggests. Source:

Watch this video featuring Dr. Wansink: