Snacking doesn’t have to be a bad thing, in fact it shouldn’t! Snacking the right way should be an energy source for kiddos to sustain them throughout the day. If you are worried about your kids snacking on the wrong stuff, trying to keep your kids from snacking is not a practical option… we all know they are going to snack… and really they should, they need energy! “Forbidding” certain things only makes them want them more. The best way to keep them from snacking on sweet and sugary snacks is, first off, to not buy them altogether; instead makes some homemade healthy snacks using some clever ways to sneak in veggies and healthy foods (like making them a delicious “milk shake” with some yogurt (no sugar added, you can even freeze it and have them think it is ice cream!), a frozen banana, peanut butter and kale or spinach is a great way to get their greens in. You can also add some frozen fruit with the greens for another option. (Hint: if the green color totally freaks them out, add some all natural food coloring to the blender to make it a color they like and they’ll never know!!!). Or buy some whole food snack options that aren’t processed like trail mix or make some homemade granola bars. And rather than “forcing” them to eat your healthier version of snacks, let them CHOOSE which healthy snack they want. We all like to have choices when making decisions, so instead of telling your kiddos what to eat, give them a couple healthy options and let them choose. Not only does it ensure they are eating a healthier snack, but they feel like they have some power in the decision making process!
One more tip for healthy snacking: the more you eat healthier snacks at home, the more likely they are to make better decisions about their snacking when they are away from you. Make some healthy swaps at home to teach them the way to make healthier decisions. Put out some crisp, fresh veggies (cucumbers, sweet peppers and carrots are always good for the kiddos) with some homemade ranch or onion dip is a great substitute to the chips you might normally have. Hummus is also another crowd pleasing snack that can be eaten with veggies. For another swap, instead of buying chips, make your own. Baking thinly sliced sweet potatoes, gold potatoes (use the mandolin for a great shape!), kale, or other veggies with salt and pepper (or other seasoning of your choice) can be a tasty treat and a great way to get the veggies in. Teaching them this at home reinforces these healthy behaviors they can take with them.