Trips to run errands and after-school activities alike call for one essential item: snacks. Snack foods are things usually associated with the word “junk,” but with a little pre-planning, snack time can be healthy as well as easy. With a specifically designated drawer or shelf with ready-to-go snacks, you’ll save time and frustration when your kids want something to eat when it’s not mealtime. By purchasing or sectioning out snack- sized portions and housing those items on “the snack shelf” your kiddos know they have access to the kind of snack they want, when they want it.
You may be thinking, “Giving my kids access to an entire snack shelf is relinquishing too much control! I can picture the endless snacking and dinner spoiling now!”
The key is creating your own control concerning how many and what type of snacks sit on the snack shelf, as well as keeping it in sight. Make your snack shelf at your kids’ eye level and not far out of reach.
Keeping 90 percent nutritious snacks and 10 percent treat-like snacks on the shelf gives your children some options, and once the snacks you’ve allotted are gone for the day, that’s it.
Additionally, keep snack options to a minimum. Having every type of snack item on the shelf at once will promote more mindless snacking simply because there is food available.
With a shelf that has a limited number of snacks we have the opportunity to teach our kids how to ration snacks for when they are truly hungry or need energy between meals, as well as how to make the right eating choices.
Snack Shelf Ideas:
Buy tiny Tupperware bowls
Having small dishes to portion out dips like peanut butter or caramel for sliced apples, ranch for baby carrots or hummus for pretzel chips keeps mess to a minimum.
Take away the work
The biggest perk of having a snack shelf means no more time discussing and narrowing down the choices of what your children want to eat, making the snack and then cleaning up the mess. Set aside a bigger chunk of time on the weekends, or 10 minutes in the morning on a weekday, to pre-cut and package snacks for the week, saving you more precious time later.
Make friends with pre-packaged items
Cheese sticks, yogurt cups with granola on the side, pudding cups and 100-calorie packs are easy to buy in larger packages and then divvy out to avoid over-snacking or having too many options on the snack shelf.