The Snack Bin
Do you constantly hear “I’m hungry!” all summer long? Providing chips after sports, crackers in the car and cookies after dinner can be hurting your child’s overall eating habits and their health.
Try revamping your family’s routine and snack habits by simplifying snack time using whole foods. Spending a little bit of time each week preparing nutritious snack options will provide your children with sustainable food options. Odds are their overall snacking may even decrease as they are being fully nourished with good for you options instead of empty calories.
Just like with meal planning, having a system to store snacks, keeping them organized and easily accessible is key. One suggestion would be to create grab-n-go snack bin. This allows your child independence in their ability to grab a snack when they want, selecting from the nutritious options you both have decided to put into the bin together. My suggestion – create one bin for the refrigerator and one for pantry.
First, sit down with your children and come up with a master snack list. Include both healthy options and those indulgence choices your kids enjoy too. From the master list, select a few options to purchase each week keeping most of the selections healthy yet allowing for one or two indulgent choices. When you get home from shopping prepare as necessary – wash and slice veggies/fruit, bake muffins, make homemade granola bars, prepare and portion out dips, portion out large bagged items into individual portion sizes, etc.
Once the prep work is done, create your snack bins. You can either fill your bins daily or weekly, however you see fit. When the kids are hungry, now they know where to look. The catch – teach your children they can select anything from the snack bin, however, once the snack bin is empty they are done with snacks for the day and won’t get anymore. This helps to teach them independence in their choices as well while establishing healthy and balanced eating habits. Bonus: the reduction of “Mom/Dad, I’m hungry! I want a snack.”
Some healthful snack choices for inspiration in your master list creation:
- Granola bars – example: KIND nut bars or KIND pressed
- Muffins – try Garden Lites
- Whole grain crackers – example: Triscuit, Wheat Thins
- Nut butters
- Air popped popcorn
- Dried fruit, such as raisins
- Vegetable sticks – carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, etc.
- Dips – hummus, ranch, etc.
- String cheese
- Hard-boiled egg
Kristin St Clair is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Dietitian with Teacup Wellness, specializing in healthy eating, weight management, and other areas of expertise to help you meet your nutrition and fitness goals.