When it comes to kids, convincing them to take a moment to slow down and grab a bite throughout the day can be quite difficult. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are obvious meal times where we can try to hush the chaos and get some food in everyone, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds.
A lot of children go through a phase where playing is far more important than eating. My son went through it right around one and a half years old. At that time, I tried everything to get him to eat at meal time and even made him sit in his high chair a couple times until every bite was gone. The only trouble with that method is that it doesn’t solve the problem, he still preferred playing over sitting to eat. Eventually kids work through this phase on their own, in the meantime the best advice I can give is to make snacks readily available.
Snacks are a big part of a child’s nutrition and that makes what they’re snacking on a very important decision for you to make. Cookies, candy and potato chips are easy to grab and serve but are also sure to line up poor snacking habits for the future. Here is a brief list of snacks that are easily kept on hand and kid friendly.
If your child is in the mood for something sweet, apples are a
perfect snack. Peel, chop and serve with cinnamon and sugar or melted peanut butter. If you’re worried about them turning brown before your child takes a moment to snack, leave them in a bowl of water and lemon juice for a bit after you chop them.
Personally, I really like the rainbow colored ones. The great
thing about this snack is that there are no artificial dyes! Pepperidge Farm switched to all natural food coloring over five years ago, making this a healthier option in the snack aisle.
Cereals like Life, Chex, Cheerios and Mini-Wheats are another good go to snack. They vary in flavors but keep their general purpose the same and that’s to provide healthy fiber without too much sugar. (Chex is also a gluten free snack).
Sometimes when I think my son is in need of a snack, I ask him if he would like a “cookie bar.” You can find granola bars in a lot of flavors like chocolate chip, s’mores, raisin and peanut butter which mimic some popular cookies. The ones you purchase at the store are packed full of fiber and if you want to make your own sweet treats like these it’s super easy to do.
Bananas are one of my son’s favorite things. If I bring home a bunch of them I’m greeted with a big smile and an even bigger thank you. Bananas are packed full of potassium, good for your heart, and have a good amount of Vitamins C and B6.
Yet another easy treat to get out and leave out, unlike fruits there isn’t a real rush to eat these before they turn a bit yucky. You can find graham crackers in a few different forms like honey (the most popular), cinnamon and chocolate.
When it comes to yogurt, I don’t mess around with anything in tubes or little tiny “kid sized” cups. In my opinion all of the yogurt targeted towards kids is less healthy and overpriced. I normally buy a big container of regular or Greek yogurt in vanilla or strawberry and dish it out as needed. This is a great morning snack and also makes a good substitute for ice cream late at night.
Convincing your child to take a five minute break for snacking can be a lot easier than convincing them to sit down to an entire meal. Take advantage of that and offer them healthy snacks whenever you can. If you can’t get them to stop what they’re doing for some yogurt or an apple, try providing dry snacks like crackers or cereal. I sometimes place a random bowl of snacks in the area where my son is playing because he’ll grab a small handful here and there as he plays. Once he reaches for an empty bowl and comes to ask for more, that’s when we would introduce lunch or a new snack with different benefits.