1. If kids have total access to snacks, they are likely to snack too often and not eat a balanced diet - let alone their dinner!
2. Every single snack drawer I've seen is full of processed food - which is not only expensive, but terribly unhealthy.
So here's how I keep my children in healthy snacks:
* I keep a counter top bowl of healthy fruit - usually washed apples and bananas, and mandarin oranges or pears, when in season (see photo to the right). Children are free to take whatever they want from this bowl.
* I also keep a drawer in the fridge for healthy snacks: mostly carrots, celery, a few cheese sticks, and when in season, grapes, green beans, peas in the pod, and cut up broccoli or cauliflower.
|Refrigerator snack drawer. There are baby carrots from our garden, cheese sticks, celery (my kids are big enough to break off stalks by themselves), and cut up cauliflower.|
I also have other snacks available; mostly homemade dried fruit, nuts and seeds (if I can find a good deal on them), or (very occasionally) crackers.* However, I keep them up high and dole them out every once in a while.
We also have a two snacking rules:
1. Any child who doesn't eat everything he snacks on looses the privilege of getting himself snacks. (No half eaten apples allowed!)
2. All children must ask for a snack before taking it. This allows me to help the kids to learn to wait for our main meals, if appropriate. (It's also a good way to teach them to think about what time they normally eat meals and whether it's smart to snack right before a meal.)
Simple. Healthy. And it works!
* Why do I limit crackers? Because they are usually full of GMO ingredients, in addition to preservatives, soy (which may increase estrogen in the body and is almost always GMO), corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients. I could make healthier ones from scratch, but it's time consuming and not worth it at this point in my life.