Guest Blogger, Tristan, answers your question about snack alternatives.
I’m so excited to share a few thoughts with everyone about food in a homeschool family’s day. As a mother of eight children food is never-ending and needs made in large quantities. It also brings with it a lot of dishes. 🙂 Readers pose wonderful questions and want real-life solutions. Hopefully my family’s solutions will inspire you to discover what works for your family.
The one and only reason I envy public-school parents is that they don’t have to deal with snacking. In and out of the fridge, the pantry, the freezer, asking “What’s there to eat?” all day long. I read that snacking is actually better for the child’s systems than spread out meals, so I don’t want to stifle the snacking, but it is wearisome coming up with new, exciting, healthful choices. Any suggestions?
Snacking can be handled in many ways. In our family we run a closed kitchen. Food is offered at specific times of day, including scheduled snack times. We grew tired of hearing a thousand requests for food. Other families I know have a snack shelf that children are free to pull from anytime they’re hungry. One of the secrets to snack time is you do not need to change WHAT you feed them as often as HOW you present that food.
Let’s use an apple to show what I mean. Children eat apples whole but for variety I might:
- Slice it into wedges.
- Add peanut butter to dip it in.
- Or yogurt for dipping.
- Slice it into thin circles (core it first) and add peanut butter between two circles for a sandwich.
- Include a handful of nuts or a slice of cheese.
- Peel it and offer apple slices next to a bird’s nest of peel to munch (yes, some of my children love the peel).
Another way to change how a food is presented is to use a variety of containers. A bowl, cup, plate, muffin tin, small pie pan, or a large platter to pick from all add interest to the same old snacks. What about putting out toothpicks or chopsticks to use? Put fruit on kebobs.
I have a go-to list of snacks I pull from and since the questioner wanted ideas I’ll share. Some are healthier than others but all are foods we actually eat for snack time.
- Fruits – Apples, pears, watermelon, bananas, strawberries, grapes, melons, raisins, oranges.
- Vegetables – Carrots, celery, cucumbers, salad greens without the dressing (little ones love munching greens ‘like a bunny’), baked and cooled potatoes, peppers sliced, and so on.
- Muffins – Make your own and you can play with the amount of sweetener used. Add veggies like pumpkin, sweet potato, or zucchini.
- Toast with jelly, nut butter, or cheese.
- Smoothies – fruit, spinach, and some water or yogurt. Play with a little peanut butter, cocoa powder, or other extras.
- Crackers with toppings like peanut butter or a slice of cheese.
- Air-popped popcorn
- Granola bars
- Granola over yogurt
- Leftover pancakes or waffles (again, little ones love carrying these to munch, no syrup needed).
- Graham crackers, a few mini marshmallows, and a tablespoon of chocolate chips – smores without the mess!
- Chocolate chip cookies and milk. Some days you just need a cookie!
Now it’s your turn to share your family’s favorite snacks! What are your go-to foods when feeding your families?
Special thanks to Guest Blogger, Tristan, a happily homeschooling mother to eight sweet children age 12 and under. She blogs about mothering and homeschooling her brood at Our Busy Homeschool and shares what it’s like raising a child with serious medical needs at Mason’s Spina Bifida Journal.