What is it about summer that makes my children ravenous gatherers of snacks? Is it the extra sunshine? The activities of a summer day? The staying up late? Excessive electronic usage?
I think the answer is boredom mixed with a pinch of opportunity. As a health coach that works from home, there are times that I need to steal away from my home life and close (and lock) the door to my office, so i'm not always the distributor of snacks. But one thing I have to tell you is that there is a sense of blinding rage that runs through me when I see granola bar wrappers strew about the living room like leaves falling from trees. It was the moment when I had to step over "snack" garbage to lift a left-ear headphone off of my son to get him to even acknowledge my existence that I knew something had to change. I decided that this summer, I would give my kids the responsibility to not only choose a healthy snack, but clean up after themselves.
I want my children to eat healthy, be satisfied and satiated in what they choose, but let's face it- they aren't there yet.... they have no control or care about what they are putting into their bodies. It is my job to make the choices limited enough where I get to control the sugar and junk yet they get a part in the decision and feel validated.
My plan this summer is to fill the kitchen full of real food snacks while also having a few "convenient ones", too. A good mix of both should win me favor with the kids when I need it, without busting their blood sugar through the roof. These are easy, healthy and reachable for my kids to grab when it's snack-time. So, for now, I have:
- cutie oranges
- celery slices
- carrot sticks
- cherry tomatoes
- hummus / guacamole single packs for dipping
- string cheese
- rice cakes
- almond / peanut butter
I will also pick up the occasional watermelon, cantaloupe or pineapple for easy finger food when we are out and about. I have also bought a few of the "healthier" snack chip bags with various pretzels, goldfish and baked chips. I use these sparingly and when the kids need something different.
One more thing I am implementing this summer.... We only have 1 snack time. I have to be strict and mean here, because otherwise it's a constant barrage of "can i have a snack?" throughout my ENTIRE day, regardless of having just eaten an entire meal. It will take a few days of work, and also a harsh "boot-camp style" detox after spending a week at the grandparents, but I am sticking to my guns this summer and teaching my kids that my kitchen is not a 24/7 all you can eat buffet.