On Good Intentions, and Stocking a Fridge With Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat
I always went food shopping with the best of intentions.
All those healthy eating tips swirl around, like a million good angels on my shoulder: "Stick to the outside aisles!" "Don't go shopping hungry!" "Eye level is where they put the crappy stuff!" BUY THOSE TWIX RIGHT THERE, THEY SAY ‘ENRICHED WITH VITAMINS.'" Well, maybe that last one came from the devil on my other shoulder. Point is, I left the store beaming, cart brimming with bags of fresh produce. I felt optimistic, and wholesome, like I did in 1989 when I drank a glass of milk during the "Milk: It Does A Body Good" campaign.
I'd arrive home with grand plans for the abundance of healthy meals and snacks my efforts provided.
A week later, I would wonder what had happened. A crisper full of sad lettuce, withered peppers, and cucumbers all but collapsing in on themselves. No one wanted to touch it, I was pleading with my kids to please, have a wrinkly old pepper, and they were running away from me, directly to the Vitamin Twix. Who could blame them? But where had I gone wrong?
After a few months of this, I realized the problem.
But first, an analogy: when packing for a trip, you don't just throw stuff into the suitcase, and hope for the best. No, you make sure everything is ready for when you pull it out of the suitcase. Otherwise, you'll be a hot mess, and running for the nearest Forever 21, just to find something - ANYHING - other than the disaster you brought with you.
When food shopping, I was kind of throwing stuff into the proverbial suitcase, and hoping for the best. I was doing no preparation, and in so doing, was presenting my family with a fridge that was a hot mess. (The Twix are the Forever 21 of this scenario.) I realized that if I want my family to eat the healthy stuff I bring home, I need to prepare it, and make it appealing, so they don't go tearing off on the other direction.
Here are a few ideas for stocking (and prepping) your fridge with kid-friendly, fun stuff:
See Food -Store in clear resealable containers (Ziploc makes sturdy yet affordable ones) so kids can actually SEE the food.
Dip It - Kids love dipping foods. Hummus, salsa, ketchup...all of these things go a long way toward getting your kids to actually eat their veggies. I know people don't like creamy dressings, but here's where my whole "balance" thing comes in. If my kids want to dip their carrots in it, bottom line, they're still eating the carrots.
Cut Up As I mentioned, it's not enough to just HAVE the good food in the fridge; you need to make it appealing, and ready to eat. A few minutes of prep up front WORKS. Some ideas:
· Peppers strips
· Cucumbers rounds
· Baby carrots
· Snap peas
· Frozen banana rounds
· Grapes (frozen, or regular!)
· Cut strawberries
· "Squeeze" yogurt and cheese sticks (I cut these into cubes)
· Frozen mango/raspberry/pineapple chunks (Buy prepackaged. No prep, they LAST, and kids love eating them frozen)
What about you? What are some healthy, ready-to-eat snack ideas you have ready to go in your fridge/freezer?