Summertime Snacking

School's out and its time for summer break. We don't have to pack lunches the night before or even early in the morning but it is a good idea to think ahead a little bit to the snacks.

How many times have you heard your kids yell "There's nothing to Eat!" Managing the Summertime snacks can be a challenge.  Here are a couple of tips we have learned over the years to manage Snack Time:

1.  Priority Snacks

Put the snacks you want them to eat in a visible, easy to reach location.  Leaving out a bowl of fruit will encourage them to eat the fruit.  This afternoon I left a bowl of mini carrots out on the kitchen table and not surprisingly the kids snacked on the carrots.

2. Make the Portions you want

There are some very interesting studies out there that show how we often eat with our eyes more than our stomachs. If there is a box full of cookies or potato chips we may eat more than we really wanted originally just because they are there in front of us.  Its ok to have cookies with lunch but as a mom you may want to separate out the cookies into snack sized ziplock bags right when you get home from the store.  Then when the kids want some cookies you already have the right amount of cookies already to go for them.  Kids are smart and if you just pull the cookies out on to their lunch plate they will know there are still more cookies in the box.  But if you give them a ziplock bag FULL of cookies then there have been studies that show that kids are satisfied with this.

3. Make breakfast easy

We have three clear bins on our kitchen counter for breakfast options.  In the bins we have a protein powder, breakfast cereal, and oatmeal.  As you can see by this picture the bin with the cheerios is usually the one we refill most often. When the kids are in charge of buying cereal it is usually some kind of sugar bomb.  But if they are given the choice of two healthy options, like cheerios OR oatmeal, they will choose the healthy cereal.  The best part is that it is their choice.

4. It starts at the grocery store

Be diligent about making your grocery list.  Your kids won't eat too much junk food if you don't bring it into the house in the first place.

5. Be the Example

There is an old saying that Your Actions speak so loudly I can't hear what you're saying (or something like that).  Kids watch their parents every move.  If you are a smoker and you're telling your kid not to smoke that is problematic.  If you want your kids to exercise then take them with you on a walk or on a bike ride. If you want them to eat healthy snacks in the summer then show them what that looks like. Make healthy living and healthy snacking a priority this summer. If not for yourself then do this for your kids.

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