As anyone with young children can likely attest, snack-time is a very real and important time of the day. It is often that mid-afternoon snack that will carry little ones over until dinner time without a complete meltdown occurring. Because there is nothing worse than a ‘h’angry toddler.
Often, there is about a thirty second window between when your child asks for a snack and when their patience of waiting for said snack ceases to exist. So, I try my best to have quick, ready-to-go snacks on hand that require little to no prep. Many of these options, however, are not particularly healthy. While it is easy to throw your little one a bag of chips and call it good, that really is not going to provide the nutrition that little growing bodies need. So, today I am sharing some of my tips and tricks for healthy snacking at home!
First and foremost, organization matters! You are more inclined to grab the food that is directly in your line of sight, so when storing food in the pantry or refrigerator keep this in mind. Place things like yogurt, fresh veggies, and string cheese at the forefront of the refrigerator. Keep a fruit basket out on the counter, making it quick and easy to grab an apple or banana.
In your pantry, place items like chips and cookies up in the corner, and healthier options like applesauce and whole wheat crackers in the front and center. This really does make a difference. Jackson has become well aware of the pantry, and loves to sneak in whenever the door is left open a second too long in search of a snack. So, keep in mind what is in sight for the shorter members of your family. I keep a basket that has ‘kid friendly’ snacks right on the bottom shelf by the door, so when he goes in searching, it is the first thing that he finds. His beloved chips (which he cannot get enough of) are placed up on the second shelf to the other end, out of reach and out of mind for little ones.
Obviously fruits, veggies, and any fresh produce make for great snacks, but what about those packaged on the go options? We are all about the teddy grahams in our house. Did you know that they are whole grain, high in fiber, and a fantastic option for a quick and easy snack? I try to always have a box on hand, and they are one of the items that Jackson is always excited to have! Dry cereals are great too. The staples like Kix and Cheerios go a long way in our house, and are often perfect for holding our little guy over until the next meal. Finally, my son, along with what I assume is most children, loves the grab and squeeze fruit options. He especially loves applesauce, but these pouches are great at also sneaking in some extra fruits or veggies without your little one knowing! This is especially great when you have a toddler who is on a veggie strike!
After dinner snacks are something to keep in mind, too. While I try my best to keep my child eating healthy, I also know that food is a wonderful centerpiece to create memories and traditions around. Nothing beats a movie (or cartoon) night on the couch, enjoying a delicious snack. And, what is life without a little chocolate? I personally LOVE trail mix, but also know that despite its healthy components, this is a snack that is often nutrient dense and the calories add up quickly. So, I have started making our own little mixes instead to have more control over what my little guy is snacking on! I am a huge fan of SkinnyPop, especially when I realized there are only 38 calories per cup! It is made with sunflower oil, and has no GMOs, gluten, or preservatives, which makes me feel much better about serving it up versus traditional popcorn. I love to add almonds, golden raisins, and yes, some chocolate candy to make this a fun pre-bed snack to enjoy while cuddled on the couch watching cartoons.
Another great way to spice up popcorn is tossing it with a bit of dark chocolate drizzle, yum! I gravitate towards the traditional flavor of SkinnyPop because it is so versatile, but the dusted dark chocolate is calling my name, too!
What are your favorite healthy snacks to have on hand for movie night? I would love to hear how you balance a little indulgence with a little nutrition, too!