Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Off topic Thursday - kid snacks

I have Sweater Sunday, and Tutorial Tuesday, so how about one more? Off Topic Thursday! If you guys would rather me stick to recycled wool for every post, just let me know.

Let's talk snacks for kids. My son is a grazer, no way around it! He eats very healthy, but he is constantly moving from one thing to the next. This created a ton of dishes! I use an energy efficient dishwasher, which is said to use less water & energy than hand washing, but we were filling & running it every day. There's just 3 of us! I started using unbleached coffee filters for dry snacks, and it cut down on the dish use significantly. Since we compost, he can just drop the filter in the compost container when he is done.

I was starting to feel like a short order cook, because every 5 minutes i'd hear "Mama, may I have a ....". Since he couldn't reach/make whatever he would ask for, I would always get it for him, but it would interrupt whatever I was doing. It finally occurred to me to put everything at his level & let him help himself. Little glass custard dishes with lids are the perfect size for kiddo snacks, so a couple of times a week, I divide some snacks into them. He has a shelf in a lower cabinet for dry snacks, and a shelf in the fridge for his snacks. The "junky" snacks (not terrible stuff, but not the most healthy) are still in the upper cabinets (he he he), but he can help himself to all the healthy ones. He is 4, and if you know 4 year olds they like to make their own choices. He feels empowered by choosing what he wants, and I don't care because they are all nutritious. Here's what currently in the fridge for him to select: organic plain yogurt with a spoonful of organic all fruit jelly mixed in, organic baby carrots, organic raisins, and red/orange pepper slices.

Money is another factor, when it comes to healthy snacks too, at least in my household. I love to buy organic when I can, but it can be expensive. Some stuff is very affordable though, especially when you divide it up into 4 year old sized portions. Organic baby carrots are $1.69/bag, and has many kid sized servings. The organic raisins are are around $3/bag, and those are divided up into about 10 servings. The organic yogurt ($3), and organic all fruit jelly ($2.50), may sound expensive, but it comes out way cheaper in the end than the non organic sugary yogurts in individual cups. A bag of organic apples is always in my fridge as well. At $3-4 a bag with about 10 apples in it, it's an affordable healthy snack.

Alright, now it's time for comments. I want to hear all of YOUR tricks & tips! What do your kids like to snack on?

ETA: Boy, am I messed up this week! I posted Off Topic Thursday on Wednesday! Talk about off topic! Lol... sorry everyone. I will try harder to remember the days of the week from now on ;)


Deb said...

Good Morning Kris, I like your solutions to the snack situation. We gave our son a drawer for cups and rags so he and his friends could help themselves to water from the fridge door.
A favorite snack, and sometimes meal, is a banana sliced in half lengthwise topped with peanut butter and sprinkled with carob chips. You could use raisins or flax seed or something he can sprinkle on himself instead of the carob chips.

Christa Holland-Anderson said...

have you ever heard of country life natural foods?

they sell in bulk and it is possible that they would deliver to you. if you get together with others and put in an order of $400 or more, shipping is free. they have wonderful organic dried fruits and nuts and many other things (their flours are wonderful for baking!). it is our way of getting organic on the cheap.

Resweater said...

Hi Deb! I forgot to mention that I have glasses, and little glass pitchers with lids for him with milk & water, so he can help himself. He's been making his breakfast every morning (except for hot foods of course) for a year now. I ordered his pitchers through a Montessori catalog, but they have the same ones now at Crate & Barrel.
Hmmm... he's been off bananas lately, but I bet he'd love it with peanut butter. Great idea!

Hi Christa, Great site! I will definitely be bookmarking that one!

daphne16 said...

I never put raisins in the fridge and it just struck me as odd.
My grandmother used to put my juice/milk in smaller pitchers for me to pour myself and I loved it. I do the same for my kiddos.

Resweater said...

I grew up with raisins in the pantry, but I read somewhere that pantry stored raisin lose their nutrients over time, and storing them in the fridge keeps them "fresh" almost forever.

Becca said...

What a great idea! My 5yr old loves organic carrots and eats through a 10lb bag a month! We originally bought the huge bag of organic carrots for juicing, but lately they don't even make it to the juicer because E gets to them first! I am surprised he hasn't turned orange. I love the idea of the individual bowls in the cupboards - I'm off to dedicate a shelf to my "knee-high" little one. Thanks!

Colleen said...

What a great idea. My son is only 18 months old, so he can really be trusted with a coffee filter full of snacks, but I'll have to give it a try in a few of months.

Tina said...

I love the topic of snacks for kids. We do the same for our 4 year old. She loves to get her own stuff. Almost everything available to her (food and containers) is at her level, but if there is something she wants that is out of her reach (frozen fruit), she just pushes a chair over and helps herself. We have a Britta filter water pitcher with the spigot in our fridge and she usually gets small sips through out the day. She won't eat baby carrots, but she has recently discover regular carrots and likes those. When she was smaller, I would set out an ice cube tray on the coffee table with a variety of safe snacks that she could cruise on by and munch.

Thanks for all the great info!