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Better snack times, yep I said it.
Snacks that don’t ruin your kid’s appetite.
Snacks that aren’t eaten while running around the playroom or that don’t end up between the couch cushions.
Snacks your kid doesn’t obsess over.
No more using snacks as the crutch for the only foods they’ll eat that day.
Snacks are an important nutrition piece for growing kids, and for busy moms everywhere!
We’ve gotten off track for how to handle them as a part of our diet instead of the mainstay.
Snacks work best when they’re a consistent part of a family routine. There should be boundaries on when snacks are eaten and where they are served. These clear expectations can alleviate some of the common headaches parents face, like endless requests for snacks. In general I recommend between 1-3 snacks per day, depending on family routine and goals. If you’re working on weight issues or improving moods for your kiddos 2-3 snacks is usually what I recommend. This can help keep blood sugar level and gives multiple opportunities to get in good nutrition.
This is what everyone wants to know, right?! What do I serve for better snack times?? You can serve whatever you’d like!! It can be typical snack foods or regular meals in smaller portions. There are countless options. Whatever you decide to serve I recommend offering a combination of protein, healthy fats and fiber. By offering a combination of those you’ll be providing nutrients that are broken down by the body more slowly and will give a steady stream of energy instead of a fast burst followed by a crash. Start with portions that are smaller than meals, though you can give them refills if they’re still hungry.
When you’re serving your snacks be mindful of fun snack foods vs the foods you want your kids to consume. I often see parents sticking with processed or packaged foods for snacks because they’re easier. They’re also more fun and if they become a regular part of your child’s diet they may hold out for those favorites and skip the foods you want them to love.
Get really flexible with what you serve when – meaning offer some leftovers as snacks, or use typical snack foods as part of a meal. When you’re using those packaged snacks remove them from the package before placing on the plate/bowl whenever possible. This also helps to remove some of the excitement around the foods.
I don’t want my kid to fill up on snacks. It’s right, boundaries can be healthy and helpful. In general I like to stick with 1-2 refills on snacks. Always keeping to the smaller portions and being mindful of needing to save for other family members or meal times. When you’re serving them multiple foods outside of packaging at snacks and encouraging them to consume some of each it will slow them down and let them truly listen to their body.
It’s my professional opinion that all foods should be treated equally and we should set the same boundaries on ‘healthy foods’ like fruits and veggies as we do on sweets and processed foods. The reason for this is we want our kids to be able to fuel their body with confidence instead of focusing solely on what they ‘should’ eat.
We don’t want kids just eating individual foods all day long, we want them truly fueling their body to meet demands. To meet those demands we need to offer proteins, healthy fats and fiber. No individual fruit or vegetable on it’s own has all of those in quantities that support growth and energy. Pair those apples with nuts or nut butter, serve celery with some cream cheese, offer a mini fruit salad with some yogurt. Balance them out and you’ll find your kids (and you) eating fewer snacks and feeling better fueled throughout the day.
Want to learn more about how to help your whole family feel their best? Join Blissful Meals Family Program today!