Your kids are going to eat, so give them the skills and supplies to make snacks for themselves.
Any parent knows that their child is like a locust. It seems like they are always hungry and always looking for something to eat — even 10 minutes after having a meal! You may even joke with your child that they have a hollow leg and wonder where they are putting all the food.
The truth of the matter is that kids are still growing and they are always on the go. To sustain their energy levels, they eat. It’s important for children to learn proper eating habits and choose healthy foods so that they don’t gain unhealthy weight. Snacking also helps kids maintain their focus.
How Often Should a Child Eat?
Kids have smaller stomachs than adults do, so they don’t eat nearly as much during meals, and they have faster metabolisms, so they require food more often than adults do. However, it’s still important for kids to have three meals a day and depending on their age, snacks in between.
While it may be tempting to let kids have free reign over when and how they snack, that could potentially teach them bad eating habits and ruin their appetites for the important meals. Set up times and places for children to have their snacks and give them healthy options to choose from.
Let Kids Make Their Own Snacks
As parents, we have a lot to do during the day. If you work outside the home, you have even more responsibilities that have to be taken care of. Making snacks for your kids may be the last thing on your list, but don’t feel guilty about that! There are only so many hours in the day to accomplish what needs to be accomplished, and having your kids help around the house teaches them responsibility and life skills.
Letting your kids make their own snacks will help teach them about healthy eating habits and how to feed themselves. They may feel a sense of satisfaction in knowing that they were able to “cook” and take pride in knowing they can do something on their own.
Keep supplies for your kids to make their snacks in a place that is easy for them to reach. Designate a cabinet that is just for them, and keep refrigerated items in a low drawer or on the lowest shelf. Keep it stocked so they have what they need to fill up and get creative with their snacks.
Snacks Kids Can Make Themselves
Kids as young as 2 or 3 can help in making their own snacks. These can include:
- Rice cake faces — you might have to help the littles spread peanut butter on the rice cake, but after that, they can add fruit to makes eyes, a nose and a mouth. Consider letting them use blueberries or sliced bananas, strawberries, apples or pears.
- Veggies and dip
- Kabobs made out of fruit and cheese (make sure there aren’t pointy ends on the skewers so kids can’t hurt themselves)
Older kids can make the following snacks:
- Ants on a log — celery with peanut butter or cream cheese with raisins. If you’re feeling generous, you could also let your kids make this with chocolate chips.
- Trail mix — normally, this mix consists of nuts, raisins and coated chocolate candies, but your kids can make up their own mixtures. They can add nuts, granola, cereals and dried fruit; which is a great option since they add sweetness yet dried fruits are lower in sugar than candy and high in fiber. Get a variety of ingredients to have on hand for them to mix together in a baggie.
- Toast with peanut butter or just butter
- Mini sandwiches — these can be made with either peanut butter and jelly or lunch meat. To make them even more interesting and fun, let your kids use cookie cutters to cut the sandwiches into fun shapes.
- Parfaits — if you want your kids to be conscience about the amount of sugar they are ingesting, get plain yogurt. That way, when your kids layer it with fruit, it will add sweetness.
- Fruit and yogurt wrapped in a tortilla shell
- Peanut butter rolled in a tortilla shell
The healthy snacking possibilities for your child go on and on. Ask your kiddo what they’d like to try to make, and then decide if you think they are capable of making it for themselves. Knowing your child can make their own snack will give you peace of mind that they are learning healthy eating habits and a few extra moments to accomplish other tasks.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.