Think about the snacks you keep in your bag for your children…do they really need it?
Here’s the deal-when I carried a diaper bag for the first few years of my children’s lives, it made sense to have snacks. Their rapidly growing bodies and short attention spans necessitated the food items, mostly for my benefit. It was for me-not for my own consumption, but because if they snacked while I was busy doing an errand, etc. the task was more likely to be completed.
The truth is that we all like to eat. Eating releases some of the feel good hormones, it keeps our mouthes busy, and if we are really hungry, helps reduce “Hanger.” Infants, toddlers, and maybe preschoolers need snacks while you are out and about living life, but then those kids grow up. And caregivers do not need to have an endless supply of snacks available.
At the pool this summer I heard “Mom do you have any snacks?” This was approximately 5 minutes after we arrived and 30 minutes after we ate lunch. So my response, OF COURSE, was “None at the moment. Go play.” The reality is that I typically do not pack a lot of food options if I know we are going to be gone for a few hours. And this is when the kids will be swimming, burning calories, and getting tired. Can you believe it?
This mean Mom recognizes that children should not have access to food at all hours of the day. The children of today, who are used to instant gratification, should learn their body’s hunger sensations and recognize that good eating habits are crucial for overall health. They should be taught (yes, one more job for busy parents) to develop good eating habits at an early age.
The average child requires 3 meals and 2 snacks to get through the day. But the same children may be better eaters if they snack less. Especially because if you look at most of the snacks we pack for our children have less than ideal nutritional value. Goldfish crackers are not a good snack in case you were not aware, but they are easy to pack, so we bring them. Let them wait for dinner when the veggies will be more easily consumed because they are hungry. They will be more likely to eat well because they did not fill up on other stuff.
Do I win the award for most nutritious foods offered to my family every day of the week? NO! But do I strive to teach my children about healthy eating habits? Absolutely! And this starts with saying “No” to the endless snacks that my kids will ask for.
So I challenge you to say “No” to the snacks that are in your bag. You are not a walking vending machine!!! Do you agree?