Kids And The Snack War

 Anyone that knows me knows I am anti “health nut” of extremes. I don’t believe in bringing carrots and celery with cheese and crackers to my kids classrooms on Valentine’s Day instead of cupcakes and cookies. (I already fought that one) I actually believe sugar is and should be a part of children’s lives, just as long as they get all the nutrients that their growing bodies need first!  Some of my favorite memories as a kid involve an ice cream cone on a hot summer night, picking candy from our local drug store after school on a Friday and yes, even mom taking us for a Happy Meal when she got home from work too late to cook!  But, I also believe in being healthy!!!!!! I say wherever we can opt for a healthier snack that gives our bodies nutrients, the better.

It all starts at the youngest of age when we first introduce them to “solids”  As they learn to eat a variety of different foods they also need to learn what these foods actually do for their bodies.  Oranges and berries, helps keep you from getting sick and having a runny nose. Meat, beans and cheese keeps our muscles strong, “let me see those muscles!”.  Milk and yogurt keeps our bones be strong, Oatmeal, gives us lots of energy to play with our friends, etc……

Funny story, my sister is a frequent visitor to our house ever since she moved away. When she comes in town, she always hits our favorite cup cake place “Sprinkles” and shows up with a yummy surprise. Her husband was actually shocked to see how excited my kids reacted but at the same time, didn’t demolish the box as his niece and nephew would have done. My sister’s response to him, ” that is because she allows them sweets and doesn’t deprive them of it” To my children, sweets are always there and can be eaten if they take care of themselves first. Do I have to say enough at times, sure, but not very often because they have been taught to take care of their bodies and understand that sweets are a treat and ONLY a treat.

Children also will follow suit with what is in the house, AKA what mom and dad eat. So here are some healthy options to always have on hand at home for you and your kids to snack on. Try having a bowl of fruits on the counter with their favorites, maybe kiwi,strawberries or blackberries, cuties and apples. Fresh fruit that is easily prepared are always a quick healthy grab. A bowl of nuts is a great snack filled with proteins. Another yummy favorite is yogurt. Filled with protein and calcium, yogurt is a favorite among kids.(and grown ups) Try adding honey to plain greek yogurt or even strawberries and granola.  Smoothies are always a kids delight!  Lowfat and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, always a safe snack. Granola Bars provide energy, protein and fiber. They are also very easy to pack weather you are heading out on a road trip or just down the street to a ball game.  Lastly, instead of regular chips, try baked chips or pretzels. It satisfies the crunchy craving with much less of the fat.

So now that you have some great snack options and will be proving a healthy dinner, let them eat cake…………….for desert!!! ; )

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