Have you heard the joke about the kid who’s always asking for a snack?
No? That’s because it’s not a joke; it’s real life! It’s funny, though, to think that the same child that often has difficulty summoning up an appetite large enough to finish their dinner, somehow is always ready for a snack.
Whether the kids in your life are looking for something tasty right after school or a little something sweet on Sunday after church, creating a way for them to help themselves comes with plenty of benefits for both you and the kiddos.
Build Healthy Habits with Intentional Snacking
As a parent or caretaker, you have probably thought about instilling positive relationships with food and building healthy habits for your children. When you create a snack station for your child, it gives you the opportunity to teach them important foundations in healthy eating, such as moderation and self-control. Having them be able to get their own snack not only takes something off of your plate, but helps instill self-sufficiency daily as well.
Here are a few easy ways to create healthy kid-friendly snack stations around your home to make snack time simple and delicious!
Building Your Stations
Take a look around your home and think about when and where your children are most likely to ask for a snack? While the kitchen is an obvious answer, what about the playroom or living room? Of course, there are a few important things to remember. First, be sure to get on their level! You want these snacks within reach for little ones, so be sure not to put them too high up or anywhere dangerous for them to reach. Next, you’ll want to have each station easily accessible, which means simple drawers, baskets, and containers are best, so small fingers and hands can open them up without you. Adding a snack station to your refrigerator? Maybe clear the bottom crisper drawer. Placing a basket in the pantry? Hang it on the lower part of the pantry door with a 3M hook!
Shop for Fun and Healthy Snacks
Before you go grocery shopping or placing that Instacart order, make a list of all the snacks you want to include in your stations. Start with things that will have looming expiration dates first, such as dairy products or lean proteins. Then move on to prepackaged snacks like crackers or granola bars. Consider how many stations you are creating and how many kiddos you have to feed each week to purchase the right amount of snacks. Think about healthy foods you know your kids enjoy the most, and how you can incorporate them so the kids don’t get bored. Ants on a log can be a healthy little kid fan favorite! You can make little Ziplock baggies with pre-cut celery stalks, raisins, and a tiny to-go peanut butter cup inside, so they can have fun making them themselves. Don’t get hung up on every snack needing to be as healthy as can be; processed and more fatty foods are okay in moderation.
Simple Snack Ideas to Include
- Cheese sticks or Babybel cheese wheels
- Fruits (strawberries, apples, grapes, pears, etc.)
- Veggies (baby carrots, celery)
- Yogurt cups
- Meat and cheese roll-ups
- Individual ranch or hummus cups
- 100-Calorie packs of chips or cookies
- Granola Bars
- Graham Crackers
- Individual nut butter packets
Introduce Your Child to His/Her New Snack Stations
Once you are all set up, show your child where these new snack stations are and what’s included. Let them open the cabinet or freezer doors themselves, so you can see they have no issues getting to anything on their own. Create clear boundaries by providing guidelines on when the right times are to get their own snacks, and encourage diverse choices each time. Make sure they understand that these stations are just for them, and they don’t need help from you to get their own snack. Make it feel special and grown-up if you have younger kids!