by Risa Green


I feel sometimes as if my entire life revolves around snacks. I have to pack two snacks in my daughter’s backpack every day; one for morning recess, and another one for her to eat on the bus home in the afternoons. My son demands a snack upon seeing me when I pick him up from preschool, and then when we get home he usually wants a second one because he’s starving. They need snacks to eat on the way to their afterschool activities, and they need snacks to eat on the way home from them, as well. On the weekends, they need snacks during half-time of their games, and then they need another snack for after the game, even if the game ends ten minutes before lunch. Sometimes, I think that instead of having a trunk in the back of my car, I should just install a cupboard.


It’s a lot of work, these snacks. A few months ago, I met with a nutritionist about my childrens’ horrific eating habits, and snacking, she said, was their number one problem. Instead of giving them Ziploc after Ziploc of Pirate’s Booty or goldfish, or Cheetos, I should instead, she explained, aim to make each snack more like a small meal, complete with protein, whole grains and fruit. A freshly made strawberry yogurt smoothie, for example, or a bowl of whole grain cereal with bananas, or a bag of popcorn with a glass of milk and an orange. With snacks like these, she explained, my kids would actually snack less, because their stomachs would be full from the fiber, protein and vitamins, and they wouldn’t be crashing after the sugar highs that accompany fruit roll-ups, or still starving because of the empty calories in the bag of Cheetos. But it’s hard to pack a bowl of cereal in a backpack, it’s hard to find the time to make a yogurt smoothie, and it’s equally hard not to cave when my kids are whining for the fruit flavored gummy snacks they sell at karate or the packages of processed cheese and crackers on the shelves at gymnastics. I try to offer them bananas or oranges, pumpkin seeds or individually wrapped pieces of cheese, but sometimes I just can’t take the whining and I cave (okay, I cave a lot of times). But still, I do the best I can.


You know, this is so funny! YOU are the parents, the children should eat what you give them. If they are eating all the time, quit feeding them all the time. If they are being picky, they dont eat. Children are amazing in the fact they WILL eat when they get hungry. Parents shouldnt give kids so many choices. They cant process them in thier little minds. Apple slices, bananas, or nothing! Be the parents! Five year olds should not have the luxury of living in a resturaunt. Keep trying!!!!


This is a constant issue with my kids lately! They have a snack in the mid-morning recess, then don't eat much lunch, then snack again at the afternoon recess and then again when they first get home from school so, again, not real hungry for dinner. And then of course, they get hungry before bedtime and want to snack again. Trying to get them to be hungry for a real protein at lunch and dinner is so difficult! It is an uphill battle because the school schedule reinforces constant snacking and if you only give them healthy snacks,they complain bitterly that the other kids have the "good stuff" (read high fat and sodium junk). I still try my best to stick to my guns and put more healthy snacks in their backpacks but it is an uphill battle. Thank goodness we don't have obesity or diabetes in our family genetics (so far)....

anne potter

Hi! Popping over from Interested in writing a little something about kids and snacking for our blog and was doing some research on what other Moms have to say. I'm in the same boat with my 2 and 4 year old. I feel like they eat all day! I'm constantly cleaning up one snacking mess after another. Great advise about providing a more substantial snack! My main problem is neither will even try different things. My 2 year old will NOT touch a fruit, a vegetable, or a smoothie. I guess I'll just keep trying! Looking forward to keeping up with this site! One of my favs for sure!


I completely agree! Don't feel bad about offering boring stuff. Buy bags of small apples and keep them on hand in your purse and the car and bring 'em out when the kids are hungry. If they aren't hungry enough to eat an apple, they can probably tough it out till the next meal.