My child is a junkie. No, he’s not into illicit substances or anything hectic like that (he’s only 5!). But he does LOVE his junk food and let’s be honest, what child doesn’t it? But little-by-little, I’m making changes to our lifestyle to encourage healthy snack habits and get rid of the rubbish.
Do your children love snacking? Mine could graze the whole day. It’s probably partly my fault. I often find myself taking work calls from home while my pre-schooler is playing. To keep him occupied, I’d grab a packet of chips or a bar of chocolate from the snack cupboard and he’d munch away happily.
But now if I try and offer him pieces of apple or a banana as a healthy snack alternative, he’ll moan and groan until I give in and he gets to raid the ‘naughty’ stockpile of snacks. Things were getting out of hand and I knew I needed help!
I turned to Natural Feeding Advocate Simone Emery, who has shared some top tips on how to develop healthy snack habits in our lives.
1) Pick A Healthy Snack Instead
There is no need to stop your child from snacking. Kids love to snack, but that shouldn’t mean compromising on healthy food choices. Toss out the high-fat, salt-loaded and sugary snack food and replace these with healthy snack options instead. Thank goodness, healthy doesn’t have to mean tasteless – so if you pick the right kind of snacks, your kids will embrace the change.
Our new favourite healthy snack range is Mighty Bellies, the specialists in developing age-appropriate wholesome snacks for all stages of child development. My son loved the Baby Bellies and Little Bellies range when he was younger so I’m not surprised that he’s yumming up the ‘bigger-kid’ Mighty Bellies snacks.
I love that the experts at Bellies have gone back to basics by combining wholegrain, fruit and veggies with kids’ favourite flavours. These are sensible snacks without the junk.
My son can’t get enough of the Mighty Bellies lentil snacks (which come in salt & vinegar and BBQ flavours). They’ve got the same crunch of chips but without all the nasties. He also loves the Mighty Bellies brown rice crispy bars (cocoa and vanilla flavours). These have become our healthy snack alternative to chocolate and there have been absolutely no complaints at all.
2) Don’t Snack All-Day
As much as many of us would like to eat all day, we’ve trained ourselves over the years to eat at set-times – whether that is conventional meal times or regular snack breaks every few hours. It’s a good idea to get your kids onto a similar routine. Once your child is at school, they generally have a morning-tea recess, followed by lunchtime in the middle of the day, an after-school snack and then dinner. I’ve tried to incorporate a similar snack routine into our lives too. No longer does my son graze the whole day through – instead he looks forward to his meal times and is hungry and eats enthusiastically.
3) Play With Your Food
Simone is a strong advocate of playing with your food. This is especially important in the early years, where babies and toddlers learn through play and having fun with flavours, textures and tastes. As children grow, play can be used to keep kids engaged during mealtimes as well as instil healthy habits into their routine.
Simone has developed a few games that I’ve been playing with my son and it’s brought so much fun into our snack breaks. I no longer use snacks to keep him quiet – now it’s become a bonding exercise for us.
Our favourite ‘play with your food’ games are:
Bring the creativity of art time to snack time to enhance learning! It’s a great way to brush up on their anatomy knowledge by following the skeletal structure, keeping their growing minds active as they snack. Mighty Bellies Lentil Puffs are super crisp and crunchy, wholesome legume puffs that are brimming with lentils. Serve with fresh fruit and vegetables to load the plate up with an array of colours and textures for them to create their perfect yummy buddy!
Reboot the morning snack
Getting creative with food is a fantastic way to introduce new flavours and textures into snack time. Children absorb so much of what to do with food from the context it is served in. Mealtimes with a few food groups show children that variety is normal and that we eat from a range of food groups at the same time. Zucchini and egg frittata served with diced peaches, berries, cucumber, celery and Mighty Bellies Lentil Puff snacks opens up a whole new world of flavours and food experiences for kids. Reboot the morning snack with this robot creation to bring this variety to life!
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Take a Mighty Breath
Here’s a game to keep the kids entertained while you power through a few tasks on your to-do list. Your child will need a metal straw for this game. The task is to suck up as many Mighty Bellies Lentil Puffs as possible and transfer them to another plate as one can within a minute! This game improves familiarity with food and helps children understand the mighty ability of their own breath. Count how many puffs can be sucked up from one plate and transferred to the other plate within the minute.
It’s Never Too Late
If you’ve had enough of your kids snacking on rubbish, it’s never too late to introduce healthy snack habits into your life.
What are your top tips to encourage healthy snack habits? Tell us in the comments below.
The team at Mouths of Mums is working with the Bellies team to bring you this article. We love that the Bellies brand ethos is ‘Do What’s Natural’ and that their focus is on supporting natural child development with their age-appropriate wholesome snacks for all stages of child development and through the concept of Playing with Food. Check out the full Bellies range at bellies.com.au.
Want to know what other mums think about the Bellies range? See MoM Members reviews and ratings in our Pre Shop Directory here – or if you’ve tried products from Bellies yourself, jump across to see Bellies in our Rate It Directory and Rate and Review the products for yourself … don’t forget there’s always MoM Member rewards points up for grabs too!