As a parent, the most dreaded phrase to hear is “are we there yet?,” followed closely by, “I’m starving!” Of course, kids are known for saying this as if they will die if they don’t get something to eat right then and there!
When kids get home from school, they are typically ravenous after a busy day, and they likely haven’t had a snack in a few hours. If the end of the school day means rushing off to more afternoon activities, it’s especially ideal to have pre-made snacks ready to go. Sometimes getting kids to eat the healthy snack may be easier said than done. Here are four ways to battle the snack attacks.
Happy and Healthy Snack Time
1. Mini-meal vs. snack
The mid-afternoon hunger pangs is an opportunity for a mini-meal. Breakfast or lunch foods in smaller portions can make good snacks. Serve up some oatmeal with raisins, scrambled eggs in a pita pocket or chicken salad in a small container. The key is making sure there is protein in the snack. Otherwise, they will be saying they are starving again before you know it. And of course, it’s important not to go overboard, or they won’t be hungry for dinner.
2. Snack Empowerment
Have your kids help you make their snack. Get kabob sticks and have them make fruit kabobs with strawberries, grapes, and melon. Alternatively, serve mini-pizzas with english muffins, sauce, low-fat cheese, and let kids add toppings like peppers and mushrooms. Another idea is to have sunbutter and jelly sandwiches ready-made. Your kids can use cookie cutters to cut out fun shapes for their snack. It is a fun activity, but also makes them feel engaged with their food choices.
3. Snack Choice
If you give your kids a choice of healthy snacks, they are more apt to eat them. Let your child choose from mango salsa with pita chips or air-popped popcorn. They are more likely to eat healthy if they feel like they have a choice in their snack selections.
4. Snack Rewards
Our kids get a star by having a positive snack-tude. It is used in conjunction with the other stars they earn from chores and positive behaviors. They can turn in their stars for a prize like a movie, small toy, or even a sweet snack like ice cream. It teaches them that healthy is the way to go. If they make healthy choices most of the time, they know an exciting reward is in their future.
What is your child’s favorite afternoon snack? How do you get them to eat healthy snacks? Share your thoughts in the comments!