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Now that summer is upon us a lot of us will be home with our kids A LOT! And with that comes the constant background noise of children asking for a snack. I know that mine ask for a snack almost every ten minutes. Sometimes they haven’t even finished the snack in their hand before asking for more!! I know how easy it can be to just throw a pack of gummy snacks or go-gurt at them. But let’s face it, we all know how bad snack food is. Child obesity and cancer are serious risks we take with our modern eating habits. So lets change that!
This summer I decided to shake things up. My daughter loves schedules and lists as much as I do, so we decided to make a summer schedule. On that schedule are designated snack times. My children are supposed to check the schedule and the time and see if it says snack time yet, and if not, they wait! This is a great learning tool for time management, learning to read time, and learning to wait! We have been testing this for a couple weeks, and so far we have had luck. The idea behind this is that it gives me time to prepare healthier snacking options instead of spur of the moment junk food. This is a little easier with my seven year old daughter than with my four year old son. My son can’t read the schedule, so he still assumes it is ALWAYS snack time. But, bit by bit he is catching on. I even heard him asking his sister to read what was next on the schedule.
Our schedule/list involves everything from making our beds, eating breakfast , and free time to snack time, t.v. time, chore time, and outdoor playtime.
Now that I have time to plan out our snacks, I have composed a list of snack options that doesn’t involve a ton of effort and doesn’t consist of sugary, toxic, unhealthy snacks. Healthy snacking has so many benefits for our little ones: improved concentration, improved mood, more energy, and less toxins in their precious little bodies. So if you are looking for healthy snack inspiration for the whole family (yes I partake in snack time too) then here is a great jumping off point:
- Organic apple slices with peanut butter: We use Adams No Stir Peanut Butter, which has about half the sugar of leading brands, and it tastes soooo good.
- Graham Crackers and Milk: Instead of cookies and milk we enjoy graham crackers dipped in milk: this still has sugar but wayyy less than a normal cookie.
- Organic Homemade popsicles: Instead of store bought popsicles for those hot summer days, we make our own out of organic juice. You can buy a really cute Ring Pop Popsicle Tray.
- Fruit and crackers: I love mixed fruit with a side of whole grain crackers. I will slice organic strawberries, add blueberries, raspberries, or whatever fresh fruit we have around. Then we add a side of whole grain crackers and enjoy a mini picnic.
- Avocado can be a lot of fun for little ones. My son loves it when I gently chop it up with a spoon and leave it inside the avocado skin. He uses it as a little bowl. So I save on dishes and he has a blast with his mini bowl. Avocado is very filling to their little bellies and contains a lot of needed nutrients. More potassium than a banana and a great source of fiber!
- Fresh or Dried Mango: We love mango! It is great fresh or dried. The Dried Mango we buy is a little on the expensive side, but even my husband loves it and now eats it in place of fruit roll-ups, which used to be his go-to before dried mango! But watch out, the bag disappears quickly.
- Raisins: Instead of fruit gummy packs opt for raisins. Just as sweet, and just as gooey.
- Rice Crackers: My kids have fallen in love with Crunchmaster Baked Rice Crackers, Artisan Four Cheese. It is super cheap, and a much healthier option than potato chips, but with the same crunch and same salty goodness.
- Organic Tortilla Chips: And nothing beats munching on plain salty organic tortilla chips in place of potato chips.
- Yogurt Sweetened with Honey: I like to get plain yogurt and add some honey. Flavored yogurts contain about as much sugar as ice cream, so when I want to avoid a sugar crash I opt for honey sweetened yogurt instead.
- Good old fashioned huge carrots: My kids go crazy for plain carrots as long as they are big ones that make it so much fun to eat. They pretend to feed them to their stuffed animals and usually eat a bag of them within two days.
- Nuts: I love to give my kids nuts in the shell. Peanuts and pistachios can be a healthy and fun option. I give my kids a bowl of nuts in the shell, and a bowl for the empty shells. It turns into a game of how many nuts they can de-shell. It occupies them for awhile, and also nourishes them! Win Win.
- Popcorn: Now, I don’t mean microwave popcorn! I pop organic popcorn in a pan, add Organic Coconut Oil and Himalayan Pink Salt or sea salt.
- Toast: Whole grain non-gmo bread, with organic jelly, or raw honey. It is our comfort food snack.
- Tea Party:And when my little ones are sick, we turn snack time into a tea party and everyone gets organic healing herbal tea and light snacks.
I hope this list helps at least one parent. I want you to know that you aren’t alone when it comes to snack time troubles. We all give in to those unhealthy options (I definitely do) but just know you have other options. And real, non processed food gives our little ones the energy they need to keep on playing, growing, and learning.
I have realized, after years of testing my theory, that my children experience less melt downs, less emotional ups and downs, and are just happier all around when they are consuming wholesome and hearty food that is prepared with love. As soon as we get back into the cycle of packaged snacks and sugar, my sweet and loving children are replaced by angry little gremlins.
So, good luck to all of you parents trying your hardest to do what is best for your children.
Have a Magical and Mindful day,