We know it’s not always easy to get your children to choose the nutritious option. Especially when trying to get them to eat whilst on the go. That’s why we’ve sat down with U.S based Charity Curley Mathews, the writer and founder of Foodlets.com, to discover her most effective tricks to get the finickiest of eaters to go gaga over wholesome snacks when in a hurry or away from home.
Traveling with my three small kids can be intense. That’s because when I say “small” I mean they’re all under the age of four. Then again, so can going outside. You know. You’ve been outside. Anyway, the last thing I want to worry about once I’ve got the brood packed up is whether the snack is suitable. Is it organic? Whole grain? Full of GMO corn syrup? These are worthy questions, but the big one, the one that stops me in my do-I-have-everything tracks is this: Will it prevent a meltdown until we get home for dinner?
That’s the snack’s job. Meltdown deterrent. In order to do this well, a snack needs to have a few things going for it: Be tasty enough to get kids eating—and also be something to look forward to. Hop in the stroller now and you can hold the snack for everyone! It should also include some stick-with-you ingredients but at the same time, not too much. (See “dinner” above. In my experience, hungry kids are much more fun to dine with than those who are bored and still full from snack time.) And it’s not such a tall order. The second one is more about timing anyway. (I try not to feed anyone closer than 2 hours before dinner.)
We’ve got a bunch of snacks in our family arsenal and I blog about all of them on foodlets.com, my site about the hits and misses of cooking healthy meals for kids.
Two of my favorite snacks are homemade fruit roll-ups and mini-muffins. The roll-ups are sugar-free and full of nothing but fruit and honey. I added ribbon because my two snackers (ages 3 ½ and 2 years) are little girls who happen to love presents. And if I’m going to compete with the neat and tidy presentation of pre-packaged snacks, I’ll go with ribbon every time.
Mini-muffins are even easier. Pumpkin spice, chocolate-zucchini and many, many more. To any muffin recipe anywhere, I’ll always make a few changes: reduce sugar by half, replace 1/3 of the flour with wheat germ and substitute applesauce or mashed bananas for oil. Those are my go-to makeover moves, but I’ve got a lot more because I make muffins a lot. I just do. And you can bet your bag of chia seeds that I always freeze half the batch immediately. This allows me to connect two important things for me right now: healthy homemade food and an on-the-go lifestyle. Throw a couple mini-muffins in a zip-top bag or wrap them up in wax paper and ribbons, too.