Healthful Ways To Tackle Your Child’s Constant Homeschool Snacking
Because if we hear "Mum, I’m hungry" one more time…
As we move into our millionth week of ISO, and for any parent at home juggling the demands of work, homeschooling as well as the general day to day washing, cooking and cleaning you are forgiven for feeling pretty exhausted right now.
If your children can talk, you have probably also noticed that they seem to be asking for a lot more food, and especially snacks than they usually do. So if you are spending more money on snacks ATM than you are on wine or chocolate, here are some easy ways to take control of excessive snacking in your home and how to stop snacking when bored.
Pack the snacks in advance
A lack of daily structure coupled with easy access to food are two powerful predictors of food intake, which explains why both adults and children alike are more likely to be in search of extra snacks in ISO.
As children are used to structure and routine when they are at daycare and school, maintaining this routine and structure, especially in the food space will go a long way in keeping eating controlled through the long days.
Whether you pack an entire lunchbox for the day as you usually would, or specifically set aside a set number of snacks for each child, it will help to avoid the constant requests for extra snacks throughout the day.
Stick to a schedule
The greatest ally you have when it comes to eating at home is the clock and assigning snack and meal times will help to avoid the debate with children about whether they can eat or not.
In this example, when a child asks for a snack you can point to the clock and say not until 11am or not until 3pm, or at afternoon tea, as opposed to a ‘no’, which can be more challenging to defend.
Have a packaged snacks rule
Packaged snacks, even relatively healthy options such as wholegrain bars, popcorn, fruit yoghurts and fruit bites and biscuits are generally expensive and can lack the bulk and nutrition of wholefoods.
They also have brightly coloured packaging which can be especially appealing to little people, resulting in them seeking out these foods continually until they are all gone. In an attempt to take control of your family’s snack intake, imposing a general limit of one packaged snack each day will help to improve your little one’s overall nutritional intake as well as your weekly budget.
Keep snacks out of sight
Human beings will eat what foods are readily available to them, which means if you keep appealing snack food in easy view, the kids (and you) will be more tempted to seek them out and eat them.
On the other hand, if you keep easy to grab snacks in containers and packed away so that they are not in eyesight, the entire family will be less likely to eat them.
Implement the ultimate hunger test
People, including children rarely eat because they are really hungry, rather we eat because tempting foods are available, others are eating or because it is a programmed meal time.
So as a simple test of hunger, when your child tells you that you are hungry, offering them a low-calorie food such as a carrot or cucumber will very quickly tell you if they are actually hungry. And if they do accept a low-calorie veg snack, their health will only benefit as a result.
Keep the mindless munching bowl handy
At this challenging time, we can all be forgiven for wanting to self soothe with food even when we are not hungry.
On how to stop snacking when bored, keeping some low-calorie snacks such as popcorn, berries and chopped vegetables on hand to munch on in between meals will mean as a parent you always have food to offer your little ones when they claim to be hungry, but ensures they will not overdo the calories if they are mindless munching as opposed to feeling genuinely hungry.
This article was first published on Kidspot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.