Snacks are a necessary evil with children. They could graze all day, and I could too, truth be told. I find that a bit hard on the budget, as well as the nerves. What mother hasn’t wanted to run screaming from the house after the 500th “I’m hungry” of the hour?
So, I instituted a snack policy. First, no sweets before lunch. Second, no snacks after 4:30 (our dinner is around 6:00). Third, no snack if the previous meal wasn’t eaten, unless the child is finishing the leftover food.
Here are some of my favorite snacks:
- crackers and cheese
- fruit and yogurt
- homemade popsicles
- apples and peanut butter
- homemade granola bars
- homemade popcorn
- veggies and dip
- cheese quesadillas
- tortilla chips and melted cheese
Now, I don’t know about your kids, but mine can make the kitchen look like a bomb went off. Crumbs and peanut butter smears everywhere. So, being the Type A mom that I am, I created a snack protocol for acquiring, eating, and cleaning snacks:
- Ask permission.
- Timing is everything. No, you may not have a snack 15 minutes before the next meal or 15 minutes after the last meal that you wouldn’t eat.
- Some food is meant as ingredients for meals or to be consumed for a certain event, such as a park day.
- Fix snack-size portions.
- I buy food to be eaten but not all at one sitting.
- A meal is looming in the near future, and I expect you to eat it.
- Eat at the dining table.
- Finding petrified food under the couches or in the closets makes me crazy. The ants that find all those partially eaten foods make me crazier, a very combustible combination.
- I know what you ate and didn’t eat, which will directly affect the outcome of your next request for a snack.
- Clean up when you’re done.
- Your mess. Your responsibility.
- I have a meal to make soon, and I won’t be happy to clean the kitchen when I need to be cooking. That means you won’t be happy to be called in from playing to mind your mess.
A snack is tidbit of food to tide you over until the next meal. A roll of crackers or a family size bag of chips does not qualify as a tidbit for children under the age of 10. I realize if I had teenage boys, I might be forced to redefine my snack terms, however my girls can hold their own in the food consumption category.
What are your snack ideas?