Snacks DO NOT have to be complicated!
I will be the first to say that I am a super big fan of Pinterest. I love seeing creative ideas, and I will always be envious of the moms who make these really elaborate cutsy heart shaped apples with peanut butter and chocolate chips in the shape of a happy face. But I am not that mom. I need snacks to be simple. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a simple apple cut up into chunks, or a cup of grapes. In fact, my kid seems to prefer that over the fancy stuff. Plus, a good portion of time we are running around doing fun learning stuff, but our tummy’s don’t let us forget that we are hungry. Ready to go, easy to prep snacks are the best.
When planning snacks it also needs to be something you will eat.
For a while I got on this, “I neeeeed to add more veggies into our diets,” kick so I kept buying the bags of baby carrots for snacks, plus they’re cheap and filling. But none of us are into carrots so they pretty much just sat in the fridge and then went bad. I figured out other ways to add veggies into our diets because paying for carrots that just sit in the fridge is a waste of food. Plan things you will eat as a snack, or a dipping sauce that can go along with it that will help you like it.
Our go to regular snacks
The baked goods only go on the list if we are bored one day and have an hour to kill. She likes to “help” me bake, and I think it’s a great way for her to learn what goes into food
Hard boiled eggs >> visit here for easy-to-peel hard boiled egg recipe
Veggie Smoothie/Veggie Pop
In season fruit (right now watermelon, grapes, mango, and nectarines are a favorite)
4 Ingredient Cookies (These are basically a protein packed cookie)
Greek Yogurt with honey and fruit (add yogurt chips and you have a protein packed sweet treat that can pass as a dessert).
Bananas and peanut butter and apples and peanut butter are another dessert snack we like on those nights where we want dessert.
As a side note: the 4 ingredient cookies and the Zucchini Muffins are not my personal recipe, but they are AH-MAZING, and fun to bake with kids. I especially love the 4-ingredient cookies because my little one loves to taste as she goes, and this recipe doesn’t include eggs, so I don’t have to worry about her putting raw eggs in her mouth. The links to these wonderful recipes follow:
Need more ideas
Celery and peanut butter
Veggie sticks and hummus
Apple with cheese slices
Deli turkey and cheese roll
Cottage cheese and pineapple
Half whole-wheat bagel with peanut butter
Greek Yogurt and granola
Sugar snap peas
Clean and portion the snacks:
I am one of those people who will stand with the fridge open for 10 minutes and when I realize I must put in effort to put together a snack, I will shut the fridge and not eat. I hardly ever purchase crackers and chips and all those types of highly processed snacks, but if there are unhealthy items available because I bought them as a treat for my husband or daughter, I will eat those instead. The problem with those snacks is that they are not filling and I find that I have eaten an entire bag of gold fish and I’m still hungry and my tummy hurts. Either one of those options leaves me unsatisfied. If I had just eaten the cup of grapes I would have felt satisfied, but it was just too much work to clean and pick them off the stems in that moment of hunger.
Clean and portion those snacks when you get home from the grocery store, or at least within the first two days that you bring them home. Things like apples and bananas obviously don’t need that kind of attention, but if you get produce like melons, grapes, or veggie sticks; wash them, cut them, and portion them out. It seems like a pain, but it keeps me from standing at the fridge for 10 minutes. I also love to have it portioned out because there are some foods that certain family members prefer. For example, my husband can eat a massive amount of watermelon. Really! It always amazes me when I’ve bought a whole watermelon and it’s gone by Sunday and I bought it Friday. If it’s portioned out it keeps one person from monopolizing food.
Another plus to portioning when it comes to kids
I often think about students that I have had as a teacher who came from foster care. I have had students who were hoarders when it came to food, and during meetings, the foster parents would express their concerns about behavior which went far beyond the issues of grades and turning in papers. I know their concerns as parents go far beyond just portioning out their kids’ snacks. But I feel like if the kids know that they have various snacks readily available to them whenever they want, this could be a huge comfort to them. My dad often joked that a good cook is a great way to a man’s heart, but it’s true for everyone. Food is essential to life, and if these kids feel like they have food readily available and it’s clean and portioned out, and they know there’s more if they want it, it’s just one step to help them feel safe and loved.
Even if your kids don’t come from a background where neglect was an issue, it’s still a great way for them to build healthy eating habits. By having clean fresh produce or sources of protein ready for them, they will learn that they need to go throughout the day fueling their body, rather than ignoring their hunger pains because they just don’t feel like preparing something or eating processed foods that don’t fill them up.
List of Available snacks
I try to keep my fridge organized, and for the most part I have gotten a system down that works for us so that food doesn’t get pushed to the back of the fridge. BUT it’s still helpful to have a list on the fridge of available snack for the week. When we are out of something, it’s easy to cross it off.
We typically eat two snacks a day, sometimes three. Our schedule normally follows the following schedule:
Breakfast- 6:00 am
Snack- 9:00 am
Lunch- 11:30 am
Snack- 2:30 pm
Dinner- between 5 and 6 pm
Sometimes we have a snack after dinner/ a dessert type snack such as greek yogurt and honey or banana smoothie, which is literally just a frozen banana in a blender.
I love to have the snacks listed because if we are going somewhere at the snack times, I can focus on grabbing the snacks that are easy to carry along to places that don’t need to be refrigerated. On the other hand, when we are home for snack time, I just list the snacks that she has available and she gets to choose. Our two-year-old is fiercely independent, and this gives her a sense of control when she gets to choose what she gets to eat. This way, I also know that all her options are going to fuel her brain and her body.
Use of the meal prep menu:
I love writing out the available snacks on the meal prep menu. My mom brain often has me thinking about a thousand things, and having a central location for what we are eating for the day is helpful. I don’t have to think about what we have, I can read off the menu.
The meal prep menu from the FREE resource library comes with a column just for this purpose, if you’d like access to this resource, please follow the link below to sign up for your FREE membership and gain access to this resource here.
Share! What’s your favorite easy go-to snack?