Sometimes I wonder if I am the “mean mom”… but I am OK with that. I do not buy chocolate bars, cookies, candy and chips for my kids as part of our regular grocery shopping. We usually do not keep that kind of stuff in the house. On the road trips, there’s hardly anything I’ll buy for my kids at gas stations. The thought of them putting all the yucky chemicals in their tiny growing bodies gives me shivers. After school snacks usually consist of bowls of fruit and veggies.
Don’t get me wrong. They still get treats. The rule in our house is that they have to eat healthy snacks FIRST. Afterwards my kids are usually rewarded with a bowl of Gold Fish, a healthy muffin, a cereal bar, or an occasional after dinner dessert. You’d be surprised, but there are times they get full on the “good stuff” and forget all about the treats. Mom win!
Here’s what a typical after school snacks looks like for my kiddos.
There will usually be a serving of veggies, a serving of fruit and a treat. My kids LOVE bell pepper and cucumbers, so I usually try to keep those on hand for their after school snacks. By the way, my kids go crazy for Yakult probiotic drink! Just make sure to get the Light version, as it contains less sugar.
One time I was chopping carrots for a soup while Maria was “helping” around. She stole one piece of a carrot, then another… That’s how I discovered that she likes carrots 🙂 She’s also strangely into broccoli. This little girl definitely doesn’t get it from me haha!
I usually serve after school snacks in the afternoon 1-2 hours before dinner time. This way I know that even if my kids refuse veggies at dinner, they already got a few servings in that day.
After school snacks selection varies depending on what is in season and what is currently in the fridge and in our fruit bowl. Seriously, the fruit bowl that I keep on the kitchen counter has been the best investment. The out of sight out of mind principle always caused me to forget what fruit we had on hand. But now that they are placed on kitchen counter’s prime real estate, I never run out of snack ideas.
I also like to pack snack boxes when we have to leave the house for longer than an hour or if I know kids will get hungry in the car. They usually get crackers or Gold Fish as a little reward for being good on the road. By now I can put veggies and treats in the same box and the kids know to eat their healthy stuff first.
If you have trouble getting your kiddos to eat veggies and fruit – try this strategy! When they want those chips or crackers, they’ll have no choice but to eat cucumbers first 🙂
Another time I allow my kiddos a treat is after dinner. Once they clean their plates, they are allowed Gold Fish or a small dessert. Lately they’ve been digging away at ice cream. Once the tub runs out, I’ll probably make these Chocolate Chip Cookies next.
This after school snack strategy served me well:
- My kiddos eat veggies and fruit without complaining
- They get their daily doze of nutrition
- They avoid mindless snacking throughout the day
- Fill them up on the “good stuff” and they may not even want those chips afterwards!
Since this is how it’s always been, my kids are mostly used to it. Rarely do I hear complains about eating fresh goodies. This surely makes my mom life easier!
Funny thing: the side effects of this strategy has been that I’m raising little negotiators 🙂 On an average day you may hear either of my kids debating how many pieces of broccoli they’ll eat in exchange for so many scoops of ice cream. And I am OK with that. The bottom line is my kids eat their veggies voluntarily. Total win!
More ideas on how to improve your kids’ health and our family’s favorite healthy meals:
Hope you have a great day and I’ll be back soon with a beautiful healthy quiche recipe for you and your family.