By Tani Minkowitz – Certified Health Coach
With the new year just starting and kids getting back to school, we once again face a struggle we hoped was over. The Snack Struggle.
Supermarkets, groceries and canteens are loaded, stocked and ready with colorful snack bags and sugar coated candy bars. The packaging looks great and the flavors burst. Every kid’s mouth waters at the sight of their favorite cookie and wishes to try the latest chocolate that just got on the market! They will even throw a tantrum if they don’t get a treat, as they leave the store with bags of… snack!
As exciting as the snack looks, is how unhealthy and terrible they are for our digestive and immune systems. Were you wondering why your child can’t asleep at night? Why he/she can’t focus, or is having terrible mood swings and acting irrationally? Is your child’s nose always runny or he/she can never seem to get full at mealtime? Well… you can blame a lot of it on, you got it, SNACK!
The packaged snacks that fill supermarket, grocery and canteen shelves, are loaded with sugar and chemical additives. Even the “Healthy Options” are often filled with these hidden ingredients. Sugar and artificial ingredients are heavy on our digestive system (especially those of our young, growing children) and weaken our immune system. They have been linked to all sorts of disorders including ADD, ADHD, Depression and mood swings.
It’s difficult, though, to tell our children “No” to all the snack that is appealing and easily available, when there aren’t much better options for them to choose from and they don’t understand what it means, when you say, “It’s not healthy.”
So here are some of my tips to help you face “The Snack Struggle”
1. Make Healthy Snack At Home Look Exciting
To counteract the captivating packages of the processed snack I spoke about, make snacks at home that look appealing too!
Here’s an example:
Core an apple to remove pits.
Slice apple width wise to create apple disks.
Spread peanut/almond butter or yogurt on the flat top of the disks
Sprinkle cinnamon, shredded coconut, nuts or your favorite topping on top of the spread.
Store in a flat container. Keep in refrigerator until ready to take to school.
2. Get Your Kid Involved:
Preparing snacks can be very time-consuming. Here is a great way to save your precious time and get your kid excited about preparing healthy snacks at home. Get your kid involved! This can even be a reward for good behavior and bedtime. Let your child be the one to get creative and put his/her snack together.
You can either do this by giving your child specific directions of what to make or leave it up to him/her! Don’t doubt your child’s imagination! Just prepare a variety of fruit and vegetables with skewers and tooth picks and your child will know just what to do! (you can print pictures of food art just to give your kid an idea)
3. Prepare In Advance:
To save time and energy, prepare a wholesome snack in the beginning of the week. This way, you avoid the everyday mess and decision of what to pack for snack.
You can make a batch of healthy muffins and bars and have them ready in your freezer for the week or even month.
The Kale Maidel’s Citrus Oat Cookies:
4 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 Tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup melted coconut oil
Juice of one lemon
Juice of one orange
*optional* add some zest of the orange and lemon
Preheat oven 350 degrees
Line a baking sheet
Combine all dry ingredients.
Add in all the wet ingredients and mix well.
Form cookie patties
Place on prepared baking sheet
Bake 350 degrees until golden
Another simple idea is to prepare sliced fruits and vegetables, like carrots and peppers, and have them in containers ready to go.
4. Educate Your Child Hands-On:
Teach your child about the importance of taking care of his/her body with fun, hands-on activities. This will help your child be more aware of the decisions he/she makes and open to making the right ones. You can also use this as an opportunity to teach your child to be a leader. Instead of following in the peer pressured “Snack Struggle”, your child can be a trail blazer and be smart about the snack choices he makes.
Here is an example:
Gather some processed snacks and sodas and read the nutrition labels.
Highlight the serving size and amount of sugar that the item contains.
Using a measuring cup or spoon, measure the amount of sugar that is highlighted.
Place the measured sugar in a zip-lock bag and label it with the item it matches to.
Do this for each item.
Have your child share what he/she thinks about it.
5. Avoid Corn Syrup, Dyes, Sugar, Hydrogenated Oils & GMOs.
If you are unable to prepare snacks at home in any way, there some better options that can be purchased in the supermarket. For example Lieber’s spelt pretzels, Mary’s Gone Crackers or Sticks, Macrobars… Whatever your choice may be, be sure to avoid corn syrup, dyes, sugar, hydrogenated oils and GMOs.
I hope you find my tips helpful and feel ready and prepared to reface “The Snack Struggle.”
Certified health coach, Tani Minkowitz, has partnered with Kettle and Cord to offer Healthy cooking classes for kids. Tani, known as “The Kale Maidel” says that healthy habits start young, when kids have fun experiences with health, they will be more aware and open to making the right choice. She believes that the biggest treat is to feel good and her kitchen is the place for both; good food and good energy!
Classes begin after Sukkos.
Early bird ends September 12th.
To sign up your child contact Tani at 917•400•1640
The Kale Maidel is also available for nutrition counseling, workshops, demos, parties and events!
You can meet with her personally in Organic Circle.
1415 Ave M. Brooklyn, NY