How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Snacks
What’s goin’ down?
Life is rockin’ and rollin’ here in the fantastic Midwest! Spring is in the air, which is my favorite time of year. We’re out of the cold and snow and muck and junk and into the sweet, sweet goodness.
Nolan is doing awesome. Growing like a new baby should. Maren is also doing awesome, although there’s always a bit of adjustment for a 4-year old when a new baby comes around.
One thing that’s always tough for parents with little kids is knowing what to eat for snacks – not only for them, but also for their kids.
It’s very easy to load up on “kid snacks” at the grocery store, but most of them aren’t good, even though the label may make it sound healthy. They’re loaded with poor quality added nutrients, some type of sugar and tons of artificial colors and sweeteners.
Not only is it bad for the kids, but us parents tend to eat them because they taste so darn good.
In fact, a couple nights ago, I was incredibly stressed and the only thing that sounded good to eat was Maren’s iced animal crackers…and I ate a lot.
I’m a stress eater and I know this, and there’s no reason I should have eaten them, but at that time I said, “Screw it” and ate them anyway.
If they weren’t in the house, I wouldn’t have eaten them and would’ve eaten a better snack instead.
To answer the very common question of, “How To Get Your Kids To Eat Healthy Snacks,” here are some tips…
But what are some “good” snacks for your kids, that you can eat as well, and how can you get your kids to eat healthy snacks?
The first way to “convince” your kids to eat healthy snacks is to make sure you are the perfect example for them.
How can you expect your kids to eat healthy if you don’t?
How can you expect your kids to eat things like apples, pears, broccoli and green beans, if they never see YOU eating them?
How can you expect your kids not to crave soda/pop/cola – whether regular or diet – if they see you drinking it on a regular basis?
Kids learn by watching us parents.
Remember that PSA from the mid-1990s where the dad found his kid’s stash of marijuana? The dad was furious and wondered where he learned such a devious thing and the kid screamed “I learned it by watching you!”
It’s true…kids learn from us – the good and bad.
If you want your children to eat healthier, then you MUST eat healthier snacks.
If you want your kids to have an apple slices with a few smears of all natural peanut butter, then you need to grab a plate for yourself and eat them too.
Kid see…kid do.
Next up is to work the healthy stuff in little by little. It’s tough to expect your kids to eat healthy snacks all at once, especially if they aren’t used to it.
Start by adding a few pieces of fruit or veggie with their meals, or by giving them a healthy breakfast alternative a couple times per week and gradually increase it.
We’re not unlike many parents – Maren gets Fruit Loops at breakfast, but many days she eats oatmeal. Does she always want it? No, but a few times per week we make sure that’s what she gets and she eats it (she also eats it because she sees mommy eat it).
Sometimes we ask if she wants anything added to it like blueberries, strawberries or a little cinnamon.
Another way is to let them help you make your healthy breakfast smoothie and give them their own, in their own special cup.
If it’s loaded up with good stuff, the kids will love it and if they help you make it, they’ll be that much more likely to eat it because they feel grown-up.
And, if you use any of the smoothie recipes I’ve given you, they will taste relatively sweet because of the fruit used and that will make the kids think it’s more like candy than something healthy, which always equals “cool points” in a kid’s book!
Another little trick is to start treating sweet fruit as a “treat.” If your kids are like mine, they are constantly asking for treats.
Who says a treat has to actually be a piece of candy?
A sweet piece of fruit is just as sweet as a piece of candy, but it actually has good stuff rather than being loaded with junk.
This one’s a little tougher to get the little ones to buy into, but it can work if you’re diligent about it.
There are also loads of alternative recipes for things like cookies, muffins, “ice cream”, etc. found on the internet and some kids’ cook books (Jerry Seinfeld’s wife has a good one).
But it really all comes down to YOU setting a good example. If your kids see YOU making good choices and eating healthy snacks and meals, then they will also start eating it and asking for the good stuff. We’re not naturally programmed to crave the junk, it’s only after we’re introduced to it and eat it on a regular basis that our taste buds start to change and we start to crave the junk rather than the healthy snacks and meals.
That’s why it’s a bit tougher in the beginning to “like” some healthy foods.
Give it some time and it will work, that I promise.
That’s all I have for ya today.
This was a pretty hefty article, but it was full of goodness.
In all honesty, you already know how to get your kids to eat healthy snacks and it’s just a matter of changing your perceptions on how YOU eat. If YOU eat healthy, your kids will eat healthy. It doesn’t get easier than that!
Talk to you soon!