“I’m hungry!” “I want a snack!” “Moooooommmmmmyyyyyy! I want a cookie!”
Snacks are survival for us moms, right? Snack whining can completely take over our days though. Why are the kids always hungry? Is snacking even okay?
Yes! Snacks can be a perfect part of your parenting strategy. Let’s talk about how to use them to end whining about snacks and how to use a snack formula to keep kids full to the next meal.
What you choose to serve at snack time can determine whether your kids are whining about being hungry in 10 minutes or are satisfied to the next meal. A lot of times kids just want snacks. They ignore “meals” and ask for snacks. Often, this is because different types of foods are served at mealtime versus snack time.
You may have heard the term “snack food.” “Snack food” usually refers to chips, crackers, cookies, candies, dried cereal, etc. These foods make fun additions to a snack box. They also tend to not keep kids full when they make up the whole snack box. Snack foods often don’t have enough protein and fat to keep kids satisfied. Plus kids burn through the processed carbohydrates quickly. When the kids get hungry again (in 30 minutes), they start whining and asking for more snacks.
Meal Food Works for Snacks Too To get out of this cycle, I suggest making "meals" and "snacks" look the same. Basically, food is food.
Snacks can be like mini meals. Little kids may not be hungry at meal time, but they may be hungry at snack time. We never know when they are really going to want to eat a lot. So it’s helpful to make balanced snacks that give them the fuel they need to grow. At snack time, I like to fill them up with all the good stuff.
Meals are a great place to include snack food, if you’d like to include snack foods. I include it right along with everything else. Sometimes there may be a snack time that only includes snack food. I try to make this the exception to the rule, however, so that the kids get enough balance to stay full to the next meal. I use a simple snack formula to keep my kids satisfied to the next meal.
“Keep Them Full” Snack Formula
Here is the snack formula that I have been using for my kids for the past 5 years:
Fat Source + Protein Source + Fruit + Vegetable + Whole Grains (optional) = Full kids!
A fat source is essential to keep them full for the next 2-3 hours. Fat is also important for brain development in small children. Here are a few healthy fat sources: Olive oil Avocado oil Full fat organic dairy (grass-fed if possible) Coconut oil Avocado or Avocado oil Nuts and seeds (ground up if child is under 4) Nut and seed butter
Protein also helps the kids stay full for the next 2-3 hours. Protein is important for growth and development too. Here are some healthy protein sources: Nuts and seeds (ground up if child is under 4) Nut and seed butter Hummus Beans Eggs Full fat organic cheese and yogurt (grass-fed if possible) Meat, poultry, fish
Veggies and Fruit
Veggies and fruit are much more than just vitamins and minerals. They have a lot of fiber. Fiber helps keep your little one full too!
When serving a grain product, I try to use whole grain whenever possible. If I want to include bread, crackers, cookies, etc. I first see if a whole grain option is available. Snacks don’t have to have a grain, but many do. Kids need a lot of carbohydrates to power their activity, and whole grains do a great job of providing carbohydrates. Many types of foods have carbohydrates though, so you don’t have to do a whole grain if you don’t want to. For example, yogurt, milk, and fruit have lots of carbohydrates.
Here are some of my favorite examples of snacks that help my kids stay full and satisfied. And the best part of this formula is that you can use it for meals too. The portions may be bigger, but the same concepts work!
Full fat plain organic yogurt with hemp hearts (fat & protein) Blueberries & golden berries (fruit) Carrots (vegetable)
Applesauce & Nuts
Unsweetened applesauce (fruit) Topping: ground nuts (fat & protein) and dried fruit (fruit) Cucumbers (vegetable)
Crackers & Hummus
Crackers (whole grain) Hummus (fat & protein) Raw veggies (vegetables) Strawberries (fruit)
Taco filling (protein) Tortilla chips (whole grain) Sour cream (fat) Lettuce and tomatoes (vegetables) Blueberries (fruit)
Peanut Butter Toast
Whole grain English muffin (whole grain) Peanut butter (fat & protein) Diced fruit (fruit) Celery and carrot sticks (vegetables)
Cheese & Crackers
Grass-fed cheese (fat & protein) Crackers (whole grain) Sliced oranges (fruit) Cucumber sticks (vegetables)
Muffin or Cupcake
Higher protein muffin or cupcake (protein and fat) Carrots & frozen peas (vegetables) Blueberries & strawberries (fruit) Cheese stick (protein and fat)
Whatever you choose to put in your Yumbox, using a balanced snack formula will help your children stay full longer and be less likely to come whining for a snack.
Enter for a chance to Win a Yumbox of your choice! Submit your entry below and share your favorite snacks in comments section of this blog post. US only, contest ends Friday, March 15, 2019. Winner will be selected at random.a Rafflecopter giveaway