Snack time in my house has become a bit of a battle over the past few months. Having two strong willed and very verbal children means that they have opinions on everything, and when it comes to sitting down for a snack they are pretty hard to please. If it were up to them they would be living solely off Cheeze-its and animal crackers, but proper nutrition is important to me so I have to be strict about what they are eating. I am by no means an expert, but I have found that by following a few clear guidelines I have been able to minimize the sugar crazed tantrums while teaching smart snacking habits at the same time.
1. Eliminate the temptation.
My kid is like a bloodhound when it comes to sweets. If I have cookies or ice cream anywhere in the house he totally just knows. Like right now, I want to binge on a pint of mint chocolate chip but the second I hide it in my freezer he will sniff it out faster than I can close the door. Once that happens it is all down hill from there and the battle of wills begins. First comes the begging, then bargaining, then the all out tantrum because he wants chocolate NOW. And if I give in I will have a sugar fueled tornado on my hands. So I have started to just not keep unhealthy snacks in the house at all, and it helps keep my own health goals in check by forcing me to indulge in better for me treats as well. If you must, keep a no kids snack box somewhere they won’t be able to see. Without the temptation of bad for you sweets every day, they won’t get used to having it as an option and you will save a ton of tears fighting about it.
2. Add variety.
Kids like choices. They like feeling like they have a little control over things, so having a variety of healthy options to choose from is a win-win for everyone – they are eating something that I want them to eat, but they feel like they chose it. By keeping a full variety of better-for-them options like fresh fruit, nuts and treats that are free of bad ingredients they are learning to choose smart snacks both inside of the house and out.
3. Choose wisely.
Be sure to check ingredients when you are stocking up. There are a lot of sneaky foods out there that *seem* healthy but when you check their ingredients they are chock full of high fructose corn syrup and sugar. Some common offenders are granola bars, “fruit” chews, loose granola, cereal, frozen fruit pops, and more. You can absolutely get all of those items, but make sure you are purchasing versions without all the yucky stuff like these awesome Fruttare bars.
They come in a variety of flavors like Peach & Milk, Strawberry & Milk, Black Cherry and more and are made from fresh fruit and milk. My kids LOVE them, and I feel good about serving them.
4. Indulge a little.
I know, I just rambled on about healthy snacking. But a cookie every now and then is fine. Maybe your kids made some special achievement or have been really good for the past few days – go ahead and indulge (but not too much)! I am not a fan of using food as a reward in any circumstance, so try to keep it as non goal based as you can – food as an incentive can lead to a really bad road of associating it with feelings. You can also choose versions of sweets that are made with more natural ingredients like the Fruttare bars – real fruit and milk in one deliciously sweet package definitely seems like a treat to my son!
5. All things in moderation.
This advise is just a few things that I came up with that works for my family. You might take a few of them, combine them with your own ideas and work it to fit YOUR life. The goal is to encourage healthy snacking habits, and how you reach that goal is completely up to you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.