There are several phrases that entirely change meaning when you become a parent. ‘I’m hungry’ is one such declaration. Instead of a simple problem with a simple solution, this phrase can bring with it a wave of panic for mums.
As parents, we want our little ones to develop as healthy a relationship as possible with food and to cement good habits from a young age. A mum’s best friend is a delicious yet nutritious snack, that doesn’t take an age to prepare. We’re always on the hunt for tasty treats that make the perfect lunchbox-fillers, after school nibbles and post-activity munch but it can be difficult to find the balance between tasty and nourishing.
To help you out, we’ve come up with 5 ways to keep your little ones snacking healthily.
1. Pack that snack!
By pre-packing your nibbles, we promise you it will make your life a million times easier. When busy mums are on the go, it's easy to just pick up anything to keep those ‘I’m hungry’s to a minimum.
If you pack healthy snacks ahead of time, then you’re more likely to stick to the more nutritional option rather than splash out on a spontaneous bar of chocolate. Meal plans are always a great idea for parents with a jam-packed schedule, and a snack plan can be equally as helpful.
2. Treats with a healthy twist
This is a mummy win for sure. Choosing snacks that can pass as treats is a fantastic way to keep tiny tummy’s healthy AND happy. Try a banana dipped in peanut butter, yoghurt-covered rice cakes and even apple slices with a light drizzle of dark chocolate.
Things like unsalted popcorn can be just as yummy as a packet of crisps, and an oatcake can pass as a biscuit if you dress it up with peanut butter, too!
Often the appearance can be the key to creating appetising yet wholesome treats. Don’t forget to explain the reasons behind a healthy diet, helping children to understand the facts might just get them intrigued.
3. Mix it up!
Your adorable children might turn sour if you give them the same snack every day. Try mixing sweet treats with savoury, to show them how healthy food comes in a huge range of flavours.
Fruit one day and veggies the next can break up the week perfectly, there’s so many different tastes to experience.
Go for carrot sticks one day and a fresh fruit pot the next. Cheese and crackers are a great way to keep the hunger at bay, so if you know there will be a longer stretch between meals, go for that. Keep it creative by going for a modern twist on a traditional snack like fruit kebabs with pineapple slices, strawberries and grapes.
These imaginative options will keep things interesting and will definitely keep the dreaded hunger at bay!
4. Watch those portion sizes
Sometimes, we tend to forget that children eat smaller amounts of food than we do. It’s important to teach children that three meals per day is always important, and that snacking shouldn’t interfere with those meals.
Treats are ideal for keeping children feeling happy and healthy, without filling them up too much before dinner.
Container sizes are key for this, so pick a piece of Tupperware that will hold the accurate portion size for your children, so that they are only getting what they need to feel energetic throughout the day.
It’s also great to teach them how to listen to their tummies and decide for themselves when enough is enough.
5. Don’t forget about yours truly!
Instilling a love for good food in your children can depend on your own eating habits, from childhood onwards. Food is one of the most powerful ways to reignite memories because meals mean family, especially in Ireland. We can all recall our own favourite snacks from when we were kids, from beans on toast to Potato Waffles.
And thanks to Birds Eye we can now get Sweet Potato Waffles for even more savoury, healthy goodness. Sweet potato is the perfect superfood vegetable, so we were delighted to discover this modern adaptation of our own childhood favourite. Sweet Potato Waffles are both low in salt and naturally gluten free, to suit every type of tummy.
Of course, you always think of your kids first, but don’t forget about you. Try to match their snack-times with your own, make it a team effort. This will also help you to gain the much-needed vitality for managing your day.
Remember, a healthy mum is a happy mum!