In my previous “What do you even eat?!” post I went over the basics of our various diets. Now I want to focus on the most important category for anyone with kids and that is snacks! Ask any parent of a young child and they will tell you that their day revolves around feeding their kids and my day is no different. Sometimes I feel like all I do is prepare and clean up meals and snacks. My kids love snacks and I can’t say that I blame them because as a nursing mom I also love a good snack to keep me going between meals. Snacks have their place but I think it’s important to focus on eating good meals over the course of the day, so how do you balance it all?
Well, I can’t say that I have the answers, but I recently made a few big decisions for our family to try and improve our meal times and our overall daily schedule. As I said, Everett (and now Arden too) loves to snack! Over the summer, snacks became a big problem in our house. Everett was asking for a snack every 5 minutes (or less), barely eating the snack, then wanting another snack AND not eating at meal times. It was driving me insane! So as summer rolls into fall and we’re getting back into a regular routine I decided to set specific snack times. These times aren’t set in stone but generally I offer a snack around 10:30am and 3:30pm. This works out so that the kids are eating roughly every 3 hours and setting specific snack times has helped cut down on the constant snack requests. I also decided on a no snacks in the car rule! This went along with us getting a new car and washing the car seats, but I also want to move away from eating as an activity instead of eating for nutrition. We are all still adjusting to the new rules and since Everett hasn’t started preschool yet, we aren’t quite into our school year routine yet. So far things are going well and I think that this little bit of structure will help to make sure that both kids are eating enough at meal times and just using their two snacks to hold them over in between.
Here are some of our typical snacks:
- Homemade trail mix- I keep a large jar of trail mix on the counter at all times, it usually contains dry roasted almonds, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and cashews and dried cherries and/or coconut chips. It is important to make sure that the nuts and dried fruit don’t contain any bad oils (canola, vegetable, corn, soy) or any sugar. Also, don’t include too much dried fruit- there should only be one or two cherries per palmful of mix. This nut mix was the thing that saved me through this elimination diet with Arden and it’s my go to snack! *This might be a controversial snack choice because people have different opinions about when to give kids nuts- this is mostly a snack for me but I do give both kids whole nuts and they seem to handle them fine!
- Cut up veggies- I’ve made it a goal to always have cut up veggies in the fridge. It’s so easy to grab a piece of fruit or a Larabar, but I don’t need the extra sugar that comes with those snack choices. Keeping veggies prepped and ready to go in the fridge makes it easy for me to choose them at snack time. Everett loves to eat his with hummus and Arden and I love guacamole!
- Seaweed snacks– we buy the organic ones from Costco, just watch out for bad oils again!
- Salami or other deli meat for a protein rich snack at home.
- Chomp meat sticks (these are grassfed beef meat sticks that you can find at Trader Joe’s) or grassfed beef jerky
- Olives- both of my kids LOVE olives! I keep cans of olives in the pantry and I buy the little Trader Joe’s olive pouches for snacks away from home.
- Cut up or whole fruit- this was a big snack choice during the summer because we had everything from berries to melon to stone fruit in season! Apples, blueberries, and bananas are popular at our house.
- Organic applesauce pouches– these are super easy to toss in the diaper bag for snacks when we’re out of the house but I don’t like to rely on them because they’re pretty much just sugar!
- Larabars– these are another snack item that I added into the mix once Arden and I started on the elimination diet and they’re kind of a love/hate for me. I love them because they’re easy and tasty but I hate them because they’re mostly sugar (from fruit, but still not the best choice) and they aren’t organic. We also recently discovered the Larabar Kid Brownies and Everett is a BIG fan! These are definitely a treat for him.
- Dried mango– this is the only dried fruit that Everett likes and it’s a quick and easy snack for all of us!
- Simple Mills Crackers– these are almond flour based crackers and they’re delicious if you’re looking for a gluten free cracker. Arden and I can’t eat them currently because they have cassava in them and some varieties contain dairy.
If you can’t tell by my snack list, snacks are kind of tricky for me. It’s a balance between making healthy choices and choosing things that are convenient and that my kids will eat! What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? What else should we add to our snack repertoire?
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