Ask any parent sheltered at home with kids right now and they’ll tell you how tired they are of the words, “Can I have a snack?” Plenty of grown-ups are grappling with the urge to snack all day, too.
It’s not surprising given the giant shift in routine, underlying stress of the situation, and the fact that snacks are within arm’s reach at any time — day or night. And while snacks can be a nourishing way to keep your brain and body energized (especially for littler tanks that need regular fuel), excessive snacking isn’t the best way to keep you sane (or healthy).
6 Tips for Healthier Snacking
Below are tips and strategies so that your snacking doesn’t spin out of control. You’ll also find 12 healthy recipes to make snack time something to look forward to.
- Don’t use your kitchen as an office or school room. Space limitations may make this hard, but if possible, find another place for you to work and your kids to study besides the kitchen. Having the pantry within sight can be a constant trigger to reach for a snack, even when you’re not hungry.
- Establish scheduled snack times. Set specific times for snacks and stick to it. This is particularly useful for kids, who are accustomed to having a schedule at school. Be firm when the kids ask for snacks outside the schedule, reminding them when they can expect their snack.
- Create a daily snack box. Every morning, assemble a snack box with two snacks and a full water bottle for each child. Put it within reach in the pantry or fridge. Older kids can decide when it’s snack time, younger ones may need help spacing things out. Side note: there’s no reason adults can’t use this strategy, too.
- Assemble a container of fruits and veggies. Take a few minutes in the evening or on weekends to cut up crunchy vegetables and/or slice fruits and keep them at eye level in the fridge. This makes it easy to choose healthy snacks for yourself and to offer them to the kids when they report being hungry.
- Keep an eye on portions. Rather than sitting down with a whole bag of peanuts, portion out a small amount and put the bag back in the cupboard. You can also pre-portion popcorn, trail mix, dried fruit, crackers, and other snacks into small containers or bags and store them in the pantry.
- Find healthy options. If you have something to look forward to, it may help your resolve to hold off until snack time.
Below are 12 snack recipes to get you started. You might also find the smart snacking tips in this post helpful, too!