I don’t know about you guys, but my kids are SNACK HAPPY these days! Goodness! That’s all they ever want! Snack, snack, snack! If someone asks me for a snack one more time, I might explode!
(And, yes, all of those exclamation points were necessary in that paragraph.)
At the beginning of the summer, I could tell snacks were going to be an issue. To save myself the battle of “no, you can’t have ice cream at 10:00 in the morning for a snack,” I made a mom-approved snack box.
In this box, I put all the crap that my kids LOVE for snacks. You know, all that stuff that has no nutritional value whatsoever. Bean and Gracie are at ages now where they know when I’m trying to “trick” them into eating healthy. So, I made this box which was a compromise. I have been buying more “snack-like” items, but I make sure they are things I feel comfortable with them having.
The items rotate, but this week in the snack box we have raisins, Nutrigrain bars, Simply Balanced fruit bites, Minion graham cracker packs, and an assortment of Annie’s snack packs. We usually also have Mott’s applesauce packets in there, too, but those go quickly every week. I keep this box of goodies in the top of the pantry, where the kids can’t reach.
(Ignore all those chips. This was the day of our Fourth of July party, so we had junk food out the whazoo this weekend!)
This snack box is used once a day, after naps. But that left the rest of the day for the kids to whine and moan about how they were malnourished and underfed (alright, maybe not in so many words – but THEY WERE THINKING IT!). So, last week, I made a second snack box. This one is a lot like the first in that the kids have total control over what they choose to eat, and I really think that’s half the reason they like the first snack box. But in this box, it is only fruits and vegetables.
The fun part of this snack box to the kids is that they never have to ask me if they can have some. I don’t care what time of day it is, they are allowed to eat how much and how often they want, as long as it is from this snack box. The first day, they practically hoarded food! They went crazy with power! They seriously ate, like, half a pound of carrots that day! The excitement has since come down a bit, but they still love having total authority over this box of snacks.
I keep this box in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator. Even Gracie can reach it. And that’s part of the fun of this box in particular. They’ve never been allowed to just help themselves to food in the fridge before, so this freedom is very exciting to them. They think they are big stuff!
Right now, we have individual baggies with grapes, strawberries and carrots.
I don’t put very much in each baggie. Usually, the kids aren’t actually that hungry. They might just be bored and looking for something to do, so they don’t need that much for a snack. Plus, if that one serving isn’t enough, they can always go back and get more. Total power, remember?
For the carrots, I also keep a little snack cup of ranch dressing in the fridge next to their snack box. They share that one little cup and replace it when they finish their snack. Ranch isn’t the healthiest, but if it’s how I can get them to eat veggies, then I don’t mind.
One last snack treat I have started this summer is keeping baggies of frozen blueberries in the freezer for Gracie (Bean doesn’t like them frozen). You just fill a quart-sized baggie with fresh blueberries. Make sure you lay the bag out nice and flat so that the berries don’t freeze together in one giant clump. Once they freeze, you can do whatever you want with the baggie and the blueberries won’t ever stick together. Gracie loves them because they don’t freeze hard all the way through. They are actually kind of chewy in the center, which makes them really cold and refreshing during the summer. I keep a bag of frozen blueberries in the freezer where Gracie can reach them all by herself.
Other quick healthy snacks I have put in this snack bin have been:
Celery sticks (with peanut butter in little Tupperware cups like the ranch)
Chunks of fresh pineapple in little Tupperware cups
Bags of sunflower seeds (without the shells)
Little Tupperware cups of hummus for dipping veggies
Cups of black beans
Edemame (steamed and in the shells)
For drinks, the kids are always allowed to get their water bottles from the refrigerator door. Recently, though, I’ve added another anytime drink option. Flavored water! I keep lemon/lime water on the kitchen counter and the kids know they can always fill a cup with some of that water. They call it “special water,” and they think it is the coolest. Gracie keeps trying to get a whole lime to come through the spout! Gracie sometimes needs some help with this one, but it is very much self-serve with Bean. And me, too! I have been drinking more water because this is right there on the counter and easy to reach.
What about you all? What are you snacking on in your house this summer?