....an apple a day...
Let's talk about snacks.
I am a big fan. Especially when I'm training for something I am aaaaaaallllways hungry.
And of course, children are hungry all hours of the day.
For me, pre-baby snacking was never really something I put thought into--I was usually too busy to find something to eat, or I just ate whatever I could quickly find.
But when you are a new mom, with a new baby, that soon turns in to a wee person who needs snacks all day, it's easy to look to the center aisles of the grocery store for anything labeled "snack". Packaged perfectly in portions for pint sized little hands. (sometimes I cannot resist a little alliteration in my life). You are bombarded with coupons and advertisements for snacks, and since their packagages boast something about kids, or toddlers, or fortified with something amazing for your growing child, you quickly grab it off the shelf.
Let me tell you a secret. Kids don't need any kind of special "kid" snacks.....they can eat the same thing YOU are eating. Really! For the most part anything labeled with the word "snack" in the store is probably not that good for you, your child, your great aunt, or anyone else you may be feeding.
So rather than wasting your money, and filling your body with packages loaded with "fortified" (note: I have an upcoming post planned on why the word fortified drives me crazy, and misleading package labels) empty calories,
here are a few of our favorite snacks.
fruit. easy as that. this time of year there are new choices coming into season every few weeks! Grab something new and try it out for a healthy snack.
vegetables. plant a small garden to get your kids excited about eating their veggies
(check out this post, as well as all the comments, for ideas on how to get your kids to try new things)
hummus + veggies/crackers/pita chips
peanut butter + banana
nuttella + .........anything
cheese and crackers (this is a favorite of ours, and the possible combinations are endless!)
"trail mix" (whatever nuts+dried fruit you have on hand + a few chocolate chips) here we have almonds+dried cranberries+chocolate chips
homemade popcorn (the EASIEST) snack you could make. Buy some popcorn kernels and follow the instructions on the label. I'll blog it next time we have it, but it's super easy to figure out, promise.
And when you're running around and need snacks on the go:
-I love a lot of Annie's products (the bunny crackers are our favorite)
-fruit leather (we get a big box at Costco....I'm unsure of the brand right now but they are tasty and have no added sugar)
Here's a quick dish that can be eaten as a snack, an easy side dish, or.....both. It is so simple and tasty, and there are excactly 1000 different ways to do it.
Toss broccoli pieces with a few drizzles of olive oil until coated, and sprinkle with a bit of salt.
Spread onto a baking sheet, and roast at 450° for 30-45 minutes.
Add a few squeezes of lemon and enjoy.
-mince a garlic clove or two and toss with the broccoli
-add crushed red chili flakes
-add cauliflower to the mix
-toss with your favorite italian dressing or vinaigrette
-top with parmesan cheese
If you're are reading this saying "but my kids only like fruit snacks", let me say this.
Just don't buy them.
If I handed my kids a box of fruit snacks right now, I would bet you a bazillion dollars that they would eat the entire box. They would--what kid doesn't like fruit snacks? So I just don't buy them. Between school and friends' houses, I'm certain they will not be fruit snack deprived.
Instead we buy different kinds of dried fruit (dried mangos, cherries, blueberries, apricots.....anything. Bulk sections are great!), that they think is a huge treat. Yes most have added sugar, but this is a much better option than fruit snacks. Because really, what are those?
Maybe your kids love Gogurt.
Just buy real yogurt--plain or vanilla, and let them choose what fruit to mix in. This cuts the sugar way down (especially if you use plain yogurt), and real fruit beats out artificial fruit flavoring any day.
So let's play a little game. I will try my best to help you out if you have something you or your kids love, but want to switch out for a better, healthier option--I'll tell you what I would switch it out with.....I'll leave my suggestions in the comments.
Your challenge this week is to try a new snack--make something easy like popcorn or trailmix, or swap out one of your favorites for a better option.
And I would love to hear YOUR favorite snacks!