Wednesday, August 15, 2012

To Snack or Not To Snack

I have a quick poll I'd like you to participate in within the comments, if you wouldn't mind.

The topic is kids and snacking.  What's your stance on?  Do you incorporate scheduled snacks within your routine or are they an occurrence here and there?  Do you snack more than once a day?  What do you offer for a snack?

My take on snacks changes with the season and the day.  I've realized I offer a lot more snacks during the summer and I think it's because I can shoo the kids out the door with their plastic bowls and crackers and not have to deal with the crumbs on the dining room floor a mere hour or two after cleaning up the breakfast mess.

I also realize I offer snacks as a parting gift.  As in, please leave me be for ten minutes and as a thank you I'll let you munch on these.

Or sometimes as a reward. Also known as a bribe,  As in, we can't have a snack until all these toys are picked up.

Or as a distraction.  As in, here's a bag of popcorn from the Target food court so that you sit still in the cart while I complete my shopping list.

But what I almost never do is offer a snack for the purposes of nutritional value.  I'm not saying this is the right way, I'm just saying this is the way I've been doing things up until now.

In my experience I have found that too much snacking leads to poor meal eaters.  Not only have I found that snacks fill up their little bellies, leaving little room for a real meal, but it also makes them more picky about what is offered during a meal.

Of course, if all snacks consisted of apple wedges and carrot sticks, there wouldn't be a problem.  But we all know that most snack items contain too much sugar, too much sodium and are almost always packaged.

I do think, however, there is a right way for kids to snack and I found a lot of useful information on Earth's Best website about healthy snacking.  Lately my kids have been enjoying Earth's Best whole grain bars and Sesame Street Crunchin' Crackers and after reading the ingredients on the box, I feel much less guilty about this.  But I admit, I'm still not sold on the idea of scheduled snacking.

Tell me, what's your take?

* This post was inspired by products I received in partnership with Earth's Best.  All opinions are 100% my own.

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