The great Snack War has been waging in American kitchens for years! Kids and adults need snacks throughout the day. But while we all know we need the healthy snacks, the bad snacks are just……so good! How do we help not only ourselves to be better eaters, but our kids too? I have several strategies below to help you win your next Snack Battle!
Don’t Buy It
There is a reason why people are very disappointed when they raid my pantry for snacks. I have not bought cookies or chips in years. Why? Because they last about five minutes once they enter my house. Self-control is difficult for most adults. It is next to impossible for kids! If you don’t want your child to eat the unhealthy snacks, do not buy them.
Look Out For “Healthy”
The food industry is really good at making bright colorful packaging, slapping some buzz words like “real fruit juice”, and convincing you it is healthy. But we all know the truth. Veggies Straw are just skinny potato chips. Fruit Snacks are just gummy bears shaped like fruit. It can be hard to market healthy food, because actual healthy food is boring to advertise. A banana is just a banana. I suppose they could put some more fun stickers on bananas! Brand bananas for boys called “The Ultimate Banana” and for girls like “Princess Banana”. But at the end of the day, there is only so many ways to make healthy food look “cool”.
Snacks For Home
Snacks at home are a lot easier to plan. You have good storage and are able to prep snacks for the week! Fruits and vegetables should always be your number one choice for snacks. Always have a fruit bowl filled with easily accessible apples, bananas, etc. If your kids don’t like certain fruits, don’t give up! There are a lot of fruits out there to try. Great vegetables to have on hand are pickles, carrots or celery. Dips like hummus or guacamole are filling and perfect to have with your vegetables. Great items to have stocked in the refrigerator are things like yogurt and string cheese. Healthy pantry snacks for kids, who need something to crunch, are items like nuts, trail mix, or plantain chips.
Snacks For School
Snacks for school can be a little bit trickier. It can be tough to plan ahead and schools often restrict certain snacks kids are allowed. Here in Texas the heat can also play a big factor in what snacks are best for kids to take to school. While yogurt and cheese are great snacks, school lunch-box ice packs only do so well for a long school day. Fruits and vegetables should once again be your top choice. Dried fruits and vegetables are a great option if your kids don’t keep their lunch boxes indoors during a school day. If nuts are allowed in your school, trail mix is your new best friend! If not try some popcorn for your kids who need that crunch!
Controlling The Snacking
While in a perfect world, you’d have a house full of healthy snacks and your child would skip merrily home from school and say “dear mother, might I please have an apple before supper?” But life happens and we all just do the best we can to keep our household happy and running. There are other ways to keep the unhealthy snacking at bay. Having snacks be a part of your normal routine is a good way to start. If children have expectations of one morning snack and one afternoon snack, the angry demands for more snacks goes down. Also keep in mind, kids get ravenous when they go through growth spurts. This is when begging for snacks is at an all-time high! Best way to see if your kid is going through a growth spurt, offer your kids a healthy snack, if they take it, vacuum it down and immediately ask for more, then it’s a growth spurt.
Another good trick to control snacking is a snack box. Make a nice box for each one of your children. Every day fill the box with the number of snacks your children are allowed to eat. Tell them they can eat these snacks whenever they want. But once the box is empty, that is all the snacks they get for day. It helps give some control to the kids. They pick what snacks are in the box and when they can eat them. Also take the blame off of you when they eat everything in their box!
The Snack War is one we all battle. Best we can do is try and give our kids the tools to fight that battle as well.