Do you pack snacks when you head out the door for either you or your family? Do you offer snacks at your home? I generally DO NOT. I don't think snacking is necessary. I studied nutrition in college (a long time ago, but I remember a few things). There are a few reasons I steer away from snacking or bring snacks everywhere I go (1) there is access to food everywhere, so if we really need food I can get it. Plus this saves me TONS of time on my way out the door. I use to pack snacks and it took a lot of work and time. Now I just grab my purse, the kids and go! (2) Snacks tend to not be as healthy as meals. Generally we grab a bar or bag of something, not a great nutrition program for you or your kids. (3) A little hunger is OK and generally leads to eating a better balanced meal at mealtime. I have broken down my thoughts on snacking into age groups. So find the age group that relates to your family and read on! BABIES until the age of 2. OMIT THE NO SNACKING RULE! Those little cuties need to eat EVERY THREE HOURS!
AGE 2 - 4. This is the age where you should be teaching your children healthy food habits. Your children should be willing to try all food, think about it FOOD IS NOT SCARY! Your children should be sitting down to a meal, eat and head on their merry way back to playing. So if you have kids this age I would guess you give them snacks. And then I might guess you have a few battles with them from time to time (or every meal) to get them to eat their food. Chances are they aren't hungry because they recently had a snack. Teach your kiddos proper eating, skip the snacks, let them feel a little hunger. And when your kids are hungry watch the success you have at the dinner table. If you must bring a snack because you are heading out for a hike and their is no access to food go for it. Here are a few tips to bringing snacks . . . (1) pack ONLY very healthy food, maybe just green stuff (yes, vegetables). If your kids are hungry and I mean hungry, not just snacking, they will eat anything. This is a great time to try out some new foods. Simply tell your child, 'I have carrots and broccoli for you or you can wait for our next meal.' You will get tears at first, but after about three rounds of this they will get with the program. Tip number (2), DO NOT OFFER YOUR CHILDREN SNACKS. Wait until your kids ask for food, because they may not. If they ask, tell them their next meal is very soon. If they ask again, offer them water. If they ask a second time, offer them a glass of milk and tell them their next meal is very soon. After about three days of this, they will get with the program. And get ready you are going to have some serious push-back here, just dig in your heels because it will pay off in the long run. Tip number (3), if you have to pack snacks because you are going hiking or to sports or whatever, don't let your kids see you pack up a bunch of snacks. If they see it they will ask for it. If they don't see (like I said) they may not ask for it. And if they don't ask for snacks, when they sit down to eat lunch or dinner you will be very, very happy because they will be eating the dinner you worked so hard to prepare! Don't think I am trying to starve anyone here, I am most certainly NOT. With my family I have taught my kids there is a time and place to eat and it's not every second of the day or between meals. All three out of four of them are with the program. The fourth kiddo has grown about 4 inches this summer and can't get enough food ever! That's another age group. And by all means, if your doctor has recommended a different nutritionally plan for you please ignore anything I have said here. And if you have diagnosed your child with a low blood sugar issue, go get them checked out!
AGE 5 - 11 . . . . Unless your child has weight or health issues, a light snack after school or camp or sports can be necessary. Kids go hard, very hard. Again, no need to offer a snack, let them ask for it! And if your kid asks for snacks all the time, offer water and then milk and then if you have to offer them veggies or fruit. Just politely tell them lunch or dinner will be served VERY soon. And help your little one find something fun to do.
AGE 12 . . . the growth spurts. These come fast and hard. I have a 13 year old that can't get enough sleep and food. If he could do both at once he would! Our 13 year old is a great eater. He tries anything and everything! He was taught long, long ago the meal being served was the only thing being offered to eat. And the rule is if you don't like, don't eat it . . . but at least try it.
AGE 20 . . . If you are an adult and you have weight issues. Chances are you snack. Healthy snacks are good, but not great. You aren't growing up anymore, just out. A little snack after exercise is understandable, but anything other than that isn't necessary. Stay away from the snacks folks. Now, if you are pregnant or have health issues . . . ignore this all together!
I'm curious to what all of your think of this post, very curious. Please write in and tell me what your think. All the best! Kysa