You know those days when you walk into the kitchen wanting something quick and easy, then you open the fridge or cabinets and all you find are ingredients. Ugh. There aren't many things more self defeating when it comes to diet. Especially when the kids are screaming about wanting another banana or some bread — my kid will eat straight bread all day every day if we let him — but you want to provide something nutritious instead of empty calories. Maybe you already have your breakfasts and lunches ready each day. You know your family likes a certain breakfast, and lunch is usually the same thing each day, right? But those snacks between meals. There is the problem. You want a snack but nothing is readily available. This leads you down the self destructive path of finding whatever convenience food you can, or worse, eating nothing and then eating TOO MUCH later because you're starving.
Let's avoid overeating all together by having snacks ready to go when you or your family are ready to have them.
Plan Out Equal Snacks
One of the keys to success with healthy snacks are taking away all the guesswork. Decision fatigue is real. Making too many decisions in a day can often leads to depleted will power. You'll be less likely to resist making a bad decision because you're too tired to fight yourself. Hi! I'm here to help you. Make the decisions before you're already tired of making decisions. Plan the snacks out so you have lots of opportunities for healthy choices. After you've been fighting with kids all morning to eat their breakfast or clean up their toys, you're going to need the easy pick up and go snack. Plan out both sweet and salty snacks. If you're planning for the month, you'll need a month worth of snacks. Isn't that common sense? Well, when you're planning sometimes you forget these things. Some snacks can be both salty and sweet, so they're great no matter what you're craving, like granola or trail mix, or these superfood “cookies”.
Make To-Go Snack Options
When planning snacks, it's so easy to plan for those snacks you'll enjoy at home. But are you home all the time? What about when you're going to Target, or you have a doctor's appointment? When you're home, it's easy to make some popcorn prepared exactly the way you like, but it's not very practical when you're traveling. Instead, you can make the snack ahead of time and put them in single serve bags. It's simple to grab it and toss it into your bag and go. You'll have your snack ready if you need it, but if you decide not to eat it, you can put it back into the mix with the rest of the snacks you've prepared in your snack drawer.
Prepare a Snack Drawer
Oh yeah. I said it. Make a whole drawer or basket dedicated to snacks. Single serve snacks, because over indulging is pretty likely with a basket full of tasty treats. With pre-made snack, you can grab whatever you want. Your kids can grab whatever they want. You can have several different types. Whatever you're in the mood for, you can keep in your snack basket. You can even have one in the fridge for cut veggies or prepared fruits. I try to do this as soon as I get home with fruits. I clean them and put them together for the snack basket. We de-vine all the grapes and put them in a large glass container and give a handful at meals for the children, have lots of string cheese, and several bags of carrots. Make sure you have some healthy snack readily available at all times.
Consider Your Lifestyle
When you're planning out your week in your planner, don't forget to add snacks. I almost always forget to add them in, and then my poor planning leads to unhealthy decisions, and then I'll likely pay for it later with a less than stellar mood. When you're planning the snacks you'll have on hand, make sure you think about if you'll be able to sit down and eat easily. Most of the time with a busy lifestyle (or really any lifestyle) it's not so easy. If you're going to be driving or on the go pick snacks easy to contain. The last thing you need is spending your afternoon cleaning up yogurt out of the intricate details of your minivan. Whenever you can, choose reusable containers!
What are your favorite snacks for yourself or your children?
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