The very first thing Big G says to me when I pick him up from school every day is ‘I’m hungry, mama. I want a snack.’ It’s not because he doesn’t get fed enough at school. My boys are just very, very hungry little men.
Snack time can be a bit of a struggle in my house. They ask for snacks right before dinner and as soon as they’re done with a meal. Big G starts asking what’s for breakfast before he goes to bed at night. Little G cries while I do his morning diaper change because he knows that Big G is already eating breakfast without him. My grocery bill has skyrocketed since I brought my two bottomless pits into this world.
I’m very lucky that my children are good eaters. So many people struggle with the opposite problem. Picky eaters that will only eat chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. I’m sure I’ll be talking about those kinds of eaters at some point. But right now, I’m going to discuss ways to help your children make healthy, wholesome food choices. Childhood is the time to learn about food and set up for a lifestyle that promotes health. Obesity rates are on the rise with children. Providing balanced diets and enough physical activity each day is hard for parents and schools. But, there are some things that you can do to promote better eating habits at home. Especially if you have really hungry kids like mine!
- Keep healthy, nourishing snacks in the house. If you only have good food choices in the house, your kids will choose good foods. I try to keep things like popcorn, pretzels, fresh fruit, veggies and yogurt on hand.
- Model good food choices. Kids learn so much from the adults in their lives. This should really be the first tip because it’s so important. If your kids see you with your hand in a bag of potato chips, you’d better believe they’ll want to do the same thing. Eat nourishing foods in front of your kids and they’ll follow suit. Along those lines, try not to limit your children based on your food preferences. Just because you don’t love carrots doesn’t mean your child won’t love them. Encourage your child to be adventurous and try new foods
- Make healthy snacks fun. While snacks don’t have to be fancy to make them good for your children, some kids don’t buy into healthy food options quite as readily. Try cutting pieces of fruit or bread into fun shapes with cookie cutters to make them more visually appealing. Choose fruits with a variety of colors and arrange them in a rainbow pattern on the plate. Be creative!
- Let them choose. Provide a few healthy food options to your kid and let them choose one for themselves. They’ll feel empowered to make their own food choices but still be getting a nutritious snack.
- If you suspect they aren’t truly feeling hunger but are just seeking food for taste, ask them to wait a few minutes and see if they ask again. This is great advice for adults too! I do this with Big G all the time. He asks for snacks immediately after finishing a meal. I ask him to wait a few minutes and reevaluate if he’s hungry. He usually gets busy doing something else and completely forgets that he ever wanted a snack to begin with. If he were really hungry, he wouldn’t forget.
Big G making a good snack choice.
Little G following big bro’s lead. Yum!
I don’t want to give the impression that every single thing a child puts in their mouth needs to be “healthy”. To obtain an appreciation for food, I truly believe that kids should be exposed to all different types of food. The healthy and less healthy alike! Trust me. My kids eat their share of sweets! But, learning to make better food choices during childhood will prepare kids to make better food choices as adults.
Do you have any kid-friendly snack suggestions that have worked for your kids?