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Friday, December 30, 2011

Using Snacks to Instill Capability



We all know that children like to feel  like they have control over their lives.  We want our children to have a healthy relationship with food, and giving them power over their own eating is a great place to start.  Children need several small snacks throughout the day.  This keeps their blood sugar levels consistent and gives them fuel for all of those Play at Home Mom activities we do with them.  ;)



When we dictate to our children what to eat and how much, we are taking away their independence and teaching them not to listen to the natural signals from their body that tell them when they are full.  Does that mean eating is a free-for-all?  No.  It means we offer healthy options and allow our children to make choices and listen to their body.  The easiest way to do this – don’t keep junk in the house.  Desserts and sweets can be a part of a healthy diet, but when sugar becomes a staple, then it’s a problem (and Im guilty of having days where we all consume too much sugar).

I started making snack bags a few months ago for my son, and was recently inspired to organize them even more into containers (as seen in pics).  How does this work?  When my son gets hungry, he gets his own snack - instilling independence and capability.  What about meal time?  We still have breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  If he goes for a snack just as lunch is being served, then the snack becomes part of his lunch.  Pushing back lunch time and dinner time is also an option for us, if need be.  Here are his current snack options.  He doesn't have to ask, he just gets a snack when he is hungry (though he typically asks).  He is not limited to these, but they are what is readily available to him at this time........




granola bars, raisins, bananas, oranges, sunflower seeds, and pistachio nuts



watermelon, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, carrots and cream cheese, and probiotic drinks



- AK
(MESE, MECD)





13 comments:

  1. awesome idea! I wish we had an available drawer in the kitchen for a place... may have to move some stuff around and have snacks available to my daughter. She LOVES to snack :)

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  2. This is so cool!! I am so glad to know about this now, when DD is old enough I will DEFINATELY do this!!

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  3. This is a great idea! It's time for me to clean out the pantry anyway; I might just have to find a low shelf to put a basket of snacks for my kids. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. We do this, and it's a great way for my boys to take ownership of what goes into their bodies. It teaches them to clean up after themselves, too. It also avoids watching them stand aimlessly staring in the pantry. This helped a lot when my twins were newborn, so the big boys didn't need to wait for me to be done nursing if they were hungry.

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  5. I love this idea! I am going to keep this one in mind as my little girl gets a bit older.

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  6. Love it! I have seen a lot of this kind of stuff on pinterest too...so I'll take it as a hint. Part of a new years res to all eat a little healthier :) Thanks!

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  7. Thank you for this article. I am going to start doing this at my home. What a practical idea, but sometimes I just need something to jump start it for me.

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  8. How old is your son? (My little guy is 27 months) All of these things are currently in our snack "box" that I use to pack my husband's lunches, and even though my son will eat most of them when offered, when he is given a choice he always goes for the raisins or fruit. Just wondering if you quickly replenish your sons favorites or if the snacks rotate? Thanks!

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  9. My son just turned 3, but I started this before he was 3. I always have fruit....always....its 80% of my sons diet. LOL I don't rush to replenish. If he asks for a particular fruit and I don't have it, he understands. There are some other snacks he loves and he is not limited to what is in the bins. Today he asked for pita chips and hummus (not in the bin)....he got the chips while I grabbed the hummus.

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  10. This looks great! I did something similar with my older children (now ages 14 and 12) when they were little. I emptied out a small bookshelf and put it in the dining room with bowls of apples and clementines, mixed nuts, and maybe carrots. I also placed food prep tools on the bookshelf - an apple slicer, a nut cracker, a juicer (the kind you use by hand), and a peeler. The children were allowed to fix themselves a snack from these choices whenever they wanted to do so. They LOVED being in charge of their own snack choices, and I think having free range with the food prep tools (I did give them lessons beforehand and made sure they knew how to use them appropriately) made it even more fun! Good luck!

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  11. This is a great idea! I feel like I'm constantly asking my 16mo daughter if she wants something and then running to the kitchen to get snacks. This way I can prep her snacks once for the whole day.

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  12. I recently put a mini fridge in my 2.5 yo's playroom that has similar snacks that he can get or serve to his guests. It also has a small pitcher of water that he can pour into cups for people, which he loves!

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