Disclosure: I do consultant work for GoGo squeeZ and I was compensated to write the post. Opinions and thoughts are my own.
Despite having three nutrition degrees between us, Serena and I still go through the struggles of having wholesome foods on hand that all our kids will REGULARLY eat.
Since it’s back-to-school time and we’re all trying to get into routines, this struggle often becomes more apparent as we get back to packing those lunches and snacks.
And when it comes to snacking, here’s what I think:
I believe in healthy snacking for kids and that snacks are a necessary part of a growing child’s diet at appropriate times (3 hours+ between meals.) What I do not condone (and really detest) is what seems to have become the norm in our culture today – that there needs to be treats (that are disguised as snacks) at every single kid activity.
Now, I’m not talking about two-hour intense sport practices where kids burn a lot of calories and need to refuel. I’m talking about Saturday morning 45-minute pee-wee soccer games right after breakfast or 1 hour Girl Scout meetings following dinner time where snacks always seem to be part of the routine (and often the main thing the kids look forward to vs. the actual activity.)
And let’s face it, it’s not water and fruit that’s being offered, it’s higher calorie/lower-nutrient foods and drinks – like chips, crackers, cookies and sports drinks – that have somehow become regular, everyday snacks vs. occasional treats.
But I’m here to empower you that you do have control (at least some control – especially with your younger kids), to give snacking back its good name. Starting with what you pack for your kids who have snack time build into their school day.
Here are a few on-the-go, healthier snacking tips (that can also be applied to packed lunches.) These strategies have all worked for our families at some point – hopefully, they can help you, too:
1) Try new foods/snacks at home first
I know my daughter likes familiarity when it comes to most foods so if you’re packing something new, make sure it’s something your kids have seen before and eaten at home first – otherwise, it’s probably going to go uneaten or even worse, get trashed.
2) When possible, pair vegetables with a favorite food
GoGo squeeZ Fruit & VeggieZ pouches are a great example – pureed vegetables like sweet potato or carrots are mixed into a familiar applesauce brand.
Other ideas include pureeing spinach or canned artichokes into hummus or adding shredded zucchini and carrots in whole grain muffins.
Make Ahead Recipe Idea: Peek-A-Boo Corn Muffins
These cornbread muffins have broccoli florets baked inside. You can freeze a batch and then pack as needed. They’ll defrost by snack time.
3) Pack something fun
Cool packaging (like those GoGo squeeZ pouches), fun shapes (cheese or mini peanut butter sandwiches cut out with cookie cutters) or dips (like salsa or ranch dressing for celery, carrot and jicama sticks) are ways to make snack time enjoyable and still wholesome.
Recipe idea: Fruit Cupcakes
Pack circle cuts of watermelon or cantaloupe with a GoGo squeeZ’s new YogurtZ (shelf stable yogurt pouches mixed with fruit puree.) Before eating, kids can squeeze the YogurtZ on top of the fruit pieces as the “icing” on the “cupcakes.”
What’s your kids’ favorite portable snack? Have you heard of the new GoGo squeeZ YogurtZs?