Monday, April 16, 2012

Snack system

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I sometimes dream of going back in time and never introducing the idea or the word "snack" into my children's vocabulary. Its treated as a entitlement anymore and they feel its something that should have no limit. I have tried a few systems to monitor snacks and most of them have failed. Yes, partly my fault for not keeping on top of it feeling like a mean mom for not indulging their hunger pains and the futile attempts of claiming "starving children in Africa....." You get the jest of it. Now what started happening more recently after I was down and out after gallbladder surgery is that I just answered "yes" when ever a snack request was made. Yes, again my fault I didn't want to deal with tantrums or being bothered much with requests. Then, a day or two later I would hear "we don't have anything to eat" then, I was puzzled but I just bought two 18 packs of granola bars, 8 cracker packs, 2 bags of grapes...etc. and its all gone...yep. Lord help me! what I saw in my head as two weeks of snacks where gone in two days. Now with 4 kids with their hand in the cookie jar so to speak I have learned to expect things like 1 pint of strawberries equals 1 snack, or a bag of apples will last 2.5 snacks (assuming its a bag of 10) So my solution (while time consuming to a degree is this)
you get 2 snacks per day. period. no exceptions. (well one exception which i will explain)

each child has a snack bin with their name on it
each bin sits on the island in the kitchen and has your two snacks in it.
refrigerated items are assigned a index card (fruit, yogurt, veggies)
If they want a fruit or a veggie or yogurt after you have consumed a bin snack you bring me the card and ask permission. This is because having just a granola bar or some trail mix might not satisfy them and I want to encourage healthy eating of fruits and veggies.
Now kids need some choice and "say so" so if they wake up have breakfast and eat two snacks directly afterwords thats a bad choice mom will let you have a apple or something between lunch and dinner but tomorrow you should make better choices.
Also if they don't eat their snack bin snacks they are allowed to save them for the following day or pass them on to a starving sister.
I try to stick to healthy snacks but every once in a while they will find a junk food item like a pudding cup or candy bar. Its not often but I know I have a killer sweet tooth at times and I assume its genetic. My kids all have different taste buds and likes and dislikes so they don't always have the same items in bins but I allow trades lol. The fridge has a bin of pre portioned fruit, veggies, cheese etc.
now the time consuming part is what I call the "master snack bin" this is my bin that I keep in my room. things like gold fish crackers, regular crackers, gram crackers etc. I portion out into snack bags and keep them in this bin. I'm slightly OCD with it and I will count out 24 gold fish cracks = one serving. and bagging them up and such is time consuming. I also keep a envelope with the snack cards in this bin. At night I get out my bin and portion out the next days snacks.
This system is not whine free, they are still adjusting to snack limits after the period of snack-free-for-all.
our non refrigerated snacks usually include
granola bars (both store bought and homemade depending on time)
gold fish crackers
trail mix (usually homemade)
crackers (this come with a cheese card)
nuts/seeds (almonds, sun flower seeds, Pepita's)
Apple sauce and fruit cups
peanut butter crackers
dried fruit/veggies
pita chips (this comes with a hummus card)
our refrigerated snacks usually include
pre portioned fruits/veggies (and ranch or peanut butter used with them)
hard boiled eggs
cheese sticks, laughing cow cheese, baby-bell etc.
cottage cheese
Now this may sound like a LOT of work and at first it was but now its second nature, it saves money, and the kids slowly but surely are coming around. I may not keep with this forever and during school days we do have a set snack time (with special snacks that sometimes relate to home ec, science project or period of history we are studying) but over all its working pretty well.
*stockphoto 123rf

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