Some time between breastfeeding and back-to-school, there’s a transition: a nursing baby can eat up to 12 times per day while an adult human generally has three meals per day with a snack or two thrown in. But let’s make them healthy snacks when we can. Don’t even get me started on the number of people willing to hand my child a cookie on any given day!
How do we get from one point to the other? By making it up as we go.
As the mom, I am in charge of the what, when, and how of snacking. I decide if the whining preschooler rolling around on the floor needs a snack or is just bored with his usual array of toys and activities. I conclude whether my toddler’s recent boneless tantrum can be blamed on low blood sugar and whether I can learn any lessons for next time.
Since I turn into a huge B-word when I don’t get enough quality calories, I project my worldview onto my children. I offer my little people food about every two hours. I like to keep many healthy options around so all choices are good ones.
Here are five easy snack combos (as excerpted from our book, Stuff Every Mom Should Know):
- Apples and nut butter. Slice the apples, spread the peanut or almond butter, and serve with an extra helping of napkins.
- Fruit smoothie. Add frozen fruit, bananas, and yogurt to your blender. Serve with an extra wide straw.
- Hummus and pita. Offer pita for dipping or spread onto triangle wedges of whole-wheat pita. Older children can be offered carrot sticks too.
- Sunflower seeds and raisins. Great for a stroller snack, this modified trail mix can be eaten straight from the bag.
- Cheese and cherry tomatoes. Cheese sticks, cubes, shreds, or circles are a good boost of calcium and protein. Pair cheese with small tomatoes for sweetness.
On the weekends, I announce “Snack Time” like clockwork at 10am and 3pm. The boys tend to ignore me and keep right on playing. But on schooldays, if I don’t pick them up from after-school-care brandishing portable snacks, I’m “the Worst Mommy in the World.” Clearly, there’s no right answer.
I’m curious about your house: Do you push snacks on your child proactively, provide them only when asked, or deny them between meals?