The Mayans considered chocolate to be the ‘food of the Gods’. Chocolate is safe in moderate amounts for older toddlers but you probably shouldn’t give chocolate or any other caffeine product to toddlers under the age of 2 years.
- Effects of chocolates on children
- Protect their health from these effects
- Obesity: Obesity and its complications take the first place in the list of bad effects of chocolate on toddlers.
- Type 2 diabetes: Consumption of canned fast foods and chocolates in the long term affects insulin sensitivity. This will in turn lead to Type 2 diabetes.
- Hyperactivity: Refined sugar present in chocolates trigger for the production of adrenalin so toddler can become hyperactive.
- Urination: Caffeine has mild diuretic properties which makes toddler urge for frequent urination.
- Rejection of healthy food: Addiction to chocolates make them difficult to opt for healthy and nutritious foods.
- Sleep problems: Even though the amount of caffeine present in chocolate is low, it can cause sleep disturbances .Chocolate is not likely to have a negative effect like soft drinks.
Chocolate is primarily made of 3 ingredients – cocoa solids, sugar and milk solids.
Cocoa solids have 50–60% fat content. From a calorific point of view this can be a great source of energy for a child. Cocoa beans have a lot of antioxidants. Antioxidants have disease preventing and anti-ageing properties.
- Forging a bond between child and parent: Parents tend to use chocolates to celebrate their child’s achievements .This interaction creates 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.
- Pleasing picky eaters: Children are known to be picky eaters. If your child is averse to eating fruits, chocolate can come to the rescue.
- Creating the post chocolate buzz: Treating them with a small square of chocolate will release endorphins, the ‘feel-good’ chemical and this will keep them content for some time.
- Improving mathematical skills: Chocolate contains flavanols, which are known to increase blood flow to the brain. Researchers in the UK found flavanols improved mathematical skills.
- Avoiding junk food: 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. Dark chocolate is loaded with soluble fiber and many essential minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium and copper. While there is no denying that chocolate tastes amazing.
- The darker the chocolate, the better.
- Getting Creative: Chocolate lends to creativity and with a little bit of imagination, you can plan some really fun activities around it.
There are of course other benefits to chocolate that I have not mentioned such as the awesome taste