Kids, for some reason, need snacks. Lots of them.
If you try to find healthy kids snacks for your little ones you either end up spending a lot of money buying them at the store or a lot of time making them at home.
For most parents, there needs to be a happy medium. Either healthy store-bought snacks that don’t cost a fortune or easy-to-make homemade snacks that don’t take a ton of time.
With four little guys in the house that are growing like weeds and seem to be hungry all. the. time., it’s all I can do to find enough food for them to eat at meal times, let alone, worry about snacks too.
In this month’s Monday Meal Planning post, I’m talking about the seemingly never-ending search for healthy kids snacks that we natural mamas go through as well as some things that I’ve found that work for us.
Store-Bought Snacks Are Junk… Convenient Junk
Most all store-bought snacks these days are pure junk. Junk designed to get your kids addicted to sugar, to make them fat and hyperactive, and to mess up their guts. They’re filled with fake sugars, processed grains, dyes, preservatives, so on and so forth.
The only pro to store-bought snacks is that they’re convenient, and with today’s busy lifestyles, that makes a difference to a lot of parents. I know convenience is a draw for me.
The Problem With Homemade Snacks
My biggest issue with making healthy kids snacks at home is the amount of time it takes to make them. And when I do make them, they seem to be gone in no time! So not only am I taking the time to make these elaborate snacks, but I have to turn right back around and make them again in 3 days. Good grief!
What I need is the convenience of store-bought snacks and the health of homemade snacks.
Bridging The Snack Gap
So, I finally realized that I can’t have the best of both worlds… the convenience of store-bought and the health of homemade without spending a fortune and investing a lot of time in it. At least, I’ve not found that world yet.
So what I decided to do was to compromise. I needed to stop beating myself up and feeling guilty when I bought snacks that were less than ideal, and I needed to find the time to make homemade snacks that were simpler and easier to make.
Breaking Out The Recipe Binder
The first thing I did was to grab my recipe binder, open it to the front page where our favorite meals are listed and add a section for snacks. This makes it easy for me when I’m going to the grocery store, and I’m out of snacks. I can quickly grab my binder, open it, and make a list of snacks I need to buy (or ingredients to make homemade snacks).
Next, I went online to find some more quick, healthy kids snacks that I can make from home without spending all my time doing it. I printed off 4 or 5 recipes and put them in the snacks section of my recipe binder and wrote them on the front page in the snacks section.
Now, the snack section of my binder looks like this:
- Store-Bought Snacks: pretzels, cheese sticks, fruit, mixed nuts, no-sugar-added fruit strips, veggie chips, blocks of cheese and wheat crackers, raisins, veggies (celery, carrots)
- Homemade Snacks: popcorn, yogurt, trail mix, granola bars, hummus, ranch dressing
So, not too bad when it comes to health, and not too bad when it comes to saving time.
Setting Snacking Limits
Another thing I’ve had to do with my kids is to establish some rules when it comes to snacking.
Seeing as how my kids are home with me all day (since they’re homeschooled), it would be easy for them to run to the fridge or pantry and grab something every time they felt hungry. However, that’s excessive, and it doesn’t teach them patience or responsibility. Plus, it’s simply a bad habit that I don’t want to start. Instead, we have daily routines that work for all of us, and we do our best to stick with those routines.
When it comes to snack times, the kids get a fruit at 10 AM after they finish their morning chores. That’s about halfway between breakfast and lunch and is just enough to tide them over until lunch. Their next snack is at 4 PM which is about 2 hours before dinner. This is a bigger, more well-rounded snack that almost always includes a protein source of some kind. It usually ends up being 2-3 smallish things which usually holds them over until dinner.
And that’s it! That’s how I’m currently doing snacks in our house.
So What Do Healthy Kids Snacks Look Like In Your Family?
Okay, now it’s your turn. I’ve told you how I’ve tried to make finding healthy kids snacks work for me and my kids and our lifestyle, but what about you?