I don’t think it’s easy to find that balance between making sure your kids are eating healthy while not becoming “food police”. The truth is – if we forbid foods from our kids they will want them even more & will soon be old enough to over-indulge in them. So I do keep cookies & other treats in the house for snacks & the lunch box. But I try to keep the “80/20 rule” so healthy outnumbers junk.
Here’s some ideas that work in our home…& I hope you will share any that YOU have!
1. Replace the “Cookie Jar” with Fruit Bowls – I find when kids are hungry they will eat what’s right there – so just make sure there are healthy choices right there!
2. After School Snacks – strike when the iron is hot – or the stomach is empty! I know my kids are STARVING right after school thus will eat ANYTHING that’s in front of them. Popcorn, veggies & hummus, yogurt & fruit, or peanut butter & apples (my kids love to “dip”!) are out on the table when they get home or I bring a bunch of fruit with me when I pick them up in case we linger at the playground.
3. Healthy Snacks = Healthy Homework. We are doing our kids (& ourselves) an injustice if we load them up on sugar & then expect them to sit & stay focused to go through an hour+ of homework. Keep treats in the house & tell them you are excited because you bought/made their favorite for after they finish their homework. But not after dinner otherwise bedtime becomes a nightmare.
4. A Compromise Trail Mix – I keep mix of almonds, raisins, semisweet chocolate chips & mini-marshmallows on hand – but they know the rule is if they choose to snack on it they have to eat the whole handful – not just the marshmallows & chocolate. Believe it or not – this is the BIGGEST hit at the playgrounds with ALL the kids. I actually had to stock up on this to feed the masses – & they all stuck to their word eating the almonds & raisins, too!
5. Do Limit Pre-Dinner Snacks – In general my guys are allowed to snack when they want except within an hour of dinner – then it’s only water. I find if they are hungry at dinner they automatically eat more of the healthy meal we’ve prepared.
In general – let your kids become a part of your kitchen so they feel as vested as you in their overall health!
I LOVE hearing your ideas as well – so please post any you have right here to share with everyone!