What to feed the masses this December.
“I used to be cool and do cool things but now I’m just a little person’s snack bringer…”
We know its tricky to find the right, healthy(-ish) and affordable road trip food for your traveling family, but what about the endless supply of stay-at-home snacking that they will do when you are at home this holiday? Staycationing can mean even more snack stress than usual, unless you have a plan!
Its easy to preach that kids should drink water and play outside and survive on birdsong and sunshine, but the realities of life are different when the last school bell of the year rings.
Suddenly the snacking isn’t just out of hunger but out of boredom and as the responsible adult you need to help the kiddo’s make good life choices.
Have snack baskets.
Have an assortment of ready to eat healthy snacks that are “fair game” and can be eaten at any time. Things like crackers, cubes of cheese, cut up fruit and nuts and even biltong make this a great way to teach kids about regulating their own cravings and picking healthy foods. You can also have a “treat basket” with special things that can only be eaten at certain times. This is where the chocolates and sweets are but they should learn that these less healthy foods can’t be eaten the whole time.
Pack lunchboxes, even though school is out.
Most kids have a designated snack time at school each day and they are already used to that routine. Find out when this is and try to stick to this routine to keep a semblance of normality in their day.
If you pack a small lunchbox with much of the same fare as they usually get, your first snack job of the day is done.
Plan and cook ahead of time.
It is important to have a plan for at least one meal a day that should be balanced and somewhat substantial. As much as kids LOVE instant noodles, they can’t live off that. Have one meal a day that the family should try to eat together. This can be breakfast, lunch or dinner and can vary day to day, but the rules for this meal are simple. The family tries to sit together, it happens at a table, the food is mostly home-made, the meal is balanced with protein, good fats, vegetables, and wholefood carbohydrates. Often kids tend to over-rely on snacks and end up being hangry, not because their tummies are empty, but because what is in them isn’t nutritional enough to sustain them through the long days of play and relaxation that the summer holidays should hold.
Hunger leads to bad decisions.
Don’t get caught off guard – hungry kids and grownups get frustrated and then end up grabbing whatever is easiest and first at hand. If you don’t plan your snack-game properly you will end up stuffing your face as well as your kids’ with all the wrong kinds of things and that road leads to sugar crashes, upset tummies and inevitable guilt because you KNOW you should be doing better!