Does this sound familiar? “You can’t have those snacks at home– those are ‘on the go’ snacks!” Or perhaps you’ve said this once or twice? “If you want a ‘fruit snack’, eat a piece of fruit!” These frequent exchanges highlight the two main mistakes I’ve made since our kids have become serial snackers:
- I fell victim to those cute, convenient and exorbitantly priced single serve packages of pretty much everything. Raisins. Applesauce. Goldfish. You name it. If it seemed relatively healthy, came in a handy “snack pack” and was sold at Costco, I bought it.
- “Fruit Snacks.” Why they don’t call these gummy bears or gummy “fruits”, I’ll never know. But, suffice it to say, if you read the label, these so-called fruit snacks are far more sugar and far less fruit. And really, with a just a pint-sized handful per serving, they are not filling anyone up! I don’t care if they are made by Welch’s or Mott’s or even organic Annie’s, they are junk.
There. I said it. I have bought a lot of junk. And I wish I hadn’t because old habits die hard. Even with kids who are only 3, 5 and 7! This junk is also very expensive — far too expensive to continue buying for the long run when you have to dole out the snacks five at a time!
So, what’s a mom to do? Well, for starters, learn from my mistakes…
- Avoid those clever, convenient prepackaged snacks and buy in bulk instead. Get that super-sized bag of Goldfish or raisins at Costco or and divvy it up in small containers each day. I’m a big fan of the Take and Toss cups that come in two sizes – one that’s just right for tiny tots and one that will be perfect for your budding scholar. If you want something less plastic and more permanent, I have friends who give rave reviews to Glass Lock containers, which have fun, bright lids in several colors to brighten up both lunch boxes and dreary days!
- Pack a real fruit snack. As in a piece of actual fruit. We’ve had success with bananas, apples, blueberries, strawberries and grapes – even though last year when my only little lady was in kindergarten, she wrote me a note I’ll never forget: “Mom. Don’t pak gren grapz. I like red onz. But I stil love you.”
So, there you have it – written proof that your kids will love you even if you eliminate fake fruit snacks! Here is a more complete list of our standards to keep our pack of snackers happy… and ideally, healthy too!
- Goldfish, pretzels, Ritz crackers, Wheat Thins
- Graham crackers, Teddy Grahams and even the occasional Oreo (we all need a treat sometimes!)
- Carrots, cucumber, pepper slices served with a side of hummus
- Sliced apples, kiwi, clementines, oranges, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple
- Raisins and other dried fruit: apricots, cherries, cranberries, mango, etc.
- Cereal bars – our favorites come from Kellogg’s (and are available at Costco and other “big box” stores) or Trader Joe’s
- Yogurt. Note that this says Yogurt. Not Gogurt. I’ve had to boycott Gogurt ever since they introduced the Sponge Bob version that glows in the dark. My kids can be hard enough to handle in the dark – the last thing I need is their bellies to glow!
One last tip — buy on sale and buy in bulk. Our go-to stops for snack supplies include Costco, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. Happy Snacking!