I am linking up with my friend Alicia of Confessions of A Snowflake today for Weight Loss Wednesdays. Each week Alicia serves up a topic of conversation. Today’s topic is children and snacks.
I have four children of varying ages and let me tell you, it’s hard to keep snacks in the house! My oldest daughter, 20, isn’t home much between work and church. And as she will soon be provided for by her husband after she is married in June, she is the least of my worries.
My oldest son just turned 18. I think He eats 10 meals a day. As soon as I come home with groceries, he finds the stash, and then a few days later, it’s gone. For example, I’ve been known to buy Pizza Rolls on many occasions. If I indulge, I may have 5 or 6. My son? He can fill an entire cookie sheet and there goes half the bag. I once asked him if he would like a shovel to eat his food with.
My two youngest are 11 and 8. They love to graze. It seems like the words, “I’m hungry” never cease to reach my ears. They want dessert as soon as dinner is finished and they want another snack before bed. As a working mom, my struggle is ensuring that my children make wise choices about snacks when I am not there to supervise them. My youngest have been known to come home from school and have ice cream as their “after-school-snack”. And the Easter candy is disappearing faster than I would like. My kids know the rules — no junk until after dinner, if at all. They just do not have the discipline to make the wise choice. I remember seeing an Extreme Makeover Home Edition show once where they built a refrigerator inside of a locked pantry. I think I need one of those.
For the most part, I try to purchase healthy snacks. I will admit though, I do buy pre-packaged foods like Pizza Rolls, frozen pizza, Mac N Cheese etc. because my kids, even the youngest, can feed themselves if we are working late. I do buy the Annie’s brand Mac N Cheese, so at least it’s healthier than the other. My 8yo son knows how to use the toaster oven to make his pizza rolls, and the microwave to cook his Chef-Boyardee favorites.
I try to keep the following healthy foods on hand at all times:
- Fresh fruit. This is not always easy. I’ve been known to say “no” to our beloved grapes if they are not below $1.00 a pound. I love when I can get them for $0.97. But fruit in our home lasts about two days. I once bought an entire watermelon and it was eaten in one night. We love bananas (with Nutella of course), Cantaloupe and berries. One of our favorites are the little Cuties or Mandarins. I tend to buy them even if they are pricey because they are just so good.
- High protein snacks. My kids love cheese. I stock up on string cheese and Laughing Cow wedges. My kids don’t like nuts much, but they do love granola bars so I can sneak in a few nuts in there. I love to make these granola energy balls. With all natural/organic ingredients, they are a great “grab and go”, protein filled snack.
- Veggies. I cannot say that my kids love their veggies. They will eat them raw, but I have to make it fun. So I buy baby carrots and give them ranch dressing on the side. I personally love celery with peanut butter and they will eat that on occasion. I’ve been known to cut up a tomato or avocado and feed it to my kids. Oh wait, those are fruits aren’t they?
My children are all taller than me, and thin. They have very fast metabolism, but I know that this may not always be the case. It’s important that I model healthy eating habits for my children. I am proud to say that I am not a mom who brings in cookies, ever, unless I make them for a special occasion. And chips? We have two kinds in our home — tortilla chips, which we love to eat with salsa or make nachos with, and Ruffles which my husband eats with his home made onion dip.
Even though I do purchase pre-packaged foods, I do believe my kids have plenty of healthy foods to choose from. The challenge is getting them to make the wiser choice when we are not there to help them.
How about you? What snacks do you provide for your children?