Packaged snacks: is palm oil the real enemy? What snack to offer our children? Quick and easy recipe

They are practical, ready and our children like so much, they are the snacks. We know that home-made snacks are preferred, with ingredients that we can control, but why can packaged snacks be harmful to our health and that of children? What are the ingredients to watch out for?

We have done 5 questions on this issue to the nutritionist, la Dr. Rosa Funaro:

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Dr. Rosa Funaro:


Nutritionist biologist, graduated in biology (nutrition curriculum), she continued her studies obtaining a master's degree in Nutrition Biology at the Federico II University of Naples.
Qualified to practice and enrolled in the National Order of Biologists, she perfected her studies following specific courses in the physiology of nutrition, dietetics and biochemistry with particular attention to the nutritional treatment of autoimmune diseases.
She collaborated with the ARPAC (Regional Agency for Environmental Protection in Campania) as a trainee Biologist for the control of food and fruit and vegetables of the land of fires. e-mail



One of the ingredients in the dock lately is palm oil, is it true that it's bad for you? Why?

Palm oil, currently widely used by the food industry, has spread to look for an economic alternative to margarine. The problem of palm oil lies in the massive presence of saturated fats that are also present in butter and coconut oil and that is why we must not demonize palm oil in as such, but learn not to exceed in the consumption of products that contain such fats and therefore packaged snacks and biscuits, prefer homemade products without preservatives and additives.

Often palm oil is replaced by rapeseed or sunflower oil, if we really want to buy something packaged, which ingredients should we be careful of?

The best fat is always extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed, rich in vitamins, antioxidants, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids and with a very low intake of saturated fats. It is not advisable to replace palm oil with sunflower oil which has a very low smoke point and is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, for these reasons it is not recommended to use it at high temperatures because releases toxic substances.

When we read the nutritional information table, the one that catches the eye is the words "Fat of which saturated“: What are saturated fats and what damage can they cause with a daily consumption extended over the years?

Saturated fats have a chemical structure that gives them greater stability and this results in a high melting point which gives them greater resistance to temperatures. As in all things, thrift in their use protects us from any damage to health since excessive consumption of butter, lard, coconut oil, etc. associated with a high consumption of foods containing cholesterol can expose us to the risk of cardiovascular disease. . Furthermore, we must not be deceived by the words â ???? â ???? vegetable-light-with omega3â ???? â ????, present more and more often on margarines and on processed (trans) vegetable fats that are obtained through chemical processes such as hydrogenation which makes them molecules foreign to our organism.

Another information to watch out for is that on the presence of sugars. How can we replace it, should we prefer honey, cane sugar?

Better not to replace sugar with other sugar, but get used to savoring food and drinks feeling their real taste without camouflaging it with sweeteners that alter the flavor. There are several ways that sugar causes us to overeat and gain weight, and the first of these mechanisms is by having a strong impact on the brain's reward centers. Honey has a greater sweetening power and therefore can be used in smaller doses, it contains vitamins and minerals unlike cooking sugar, but this does not make it a beneficial food in particular for diabetics who must pay close attention to the consumption of sugars and also of honey which contains fructose and glucose which are still sugars. Finally, raw cane sugar is, in many ways, equivalent to white sugar, while whole cane sugar, being little processed, is richer in minerals and vitamins and slightly less caloric.

What snack to offer our children?

The best snack to give to children is always fresh fruit, it can be varied with yogurt, a slice of homemade donut, bread and jam, bread and dark chocolate.

Each recipe, even some proposals on this site, may contain ingredients that should be avoided. Our goal must be to find the healthiest alternative possible to some particularly harmful products and ingredients!

Thanks to Dr. Funaro and I hope you enjoy this new column.

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