Why is it that those inevitable words, “Mommy, I’m hungry” always seem to strike at the most inconvenient moments? In our house it seems like those words are always uttered moments before we have to drop off a child at school, pick up a child from school, go to an after school activity, doctors appointment, playgroup event, and/or whenever mommy gets a moment to do anything for herself, whether that be using the restroom, brushing her teeth, you name it and they come running. It is like they have this sixth sense and they can tell when mommy is suddenly not doing something for someone else but surprisingly doing something for herself. It is as if they have mommy detectors that go off in their little heads when mommy is no longer in mommy mode. Saying, warning, warning, mommy is enjoying a moment of solitude, must intervene. Like we will lose our title as Mrs. Mommy or something? (In case Mrs. Mommy can’t fulfill her duties then the first runner-up will be crowned). But, I digress….
So there you are, a mom on the go, and there is your little one(s) asking for a snack, what to do? Well, you could prepare a healthy, nutritious snack for your little one which might take a few minutes or you could grab convenience foods thus making the solution rather, well, convenient. More than likely, since you do have a tight schedule, you will choose the more convenient route, and who could blame you? Those darn companies making the individually packaged serving sizes so darn appealing, just grab it and go. Now that is something the modern-day mom can get on board with, am I right ladies? I know I for one personally enjoy the convenience of the Late July peanut butter crackers and the cheddar cracker snacks. The prep and cooking time are just my speed. The directions are as follows, open box, remove individually wrapped cracker package and place in diaper bag, done. True, that was way convenient but at what cost?
Here is a riddle for you, what is inexpensive to get but expensive to treat? Answer: Heart Disease and Type II Diabetes.
As moms it is important that we teach our children healthy eating habits. Thus, in an effort to have healthy growing foods available for your children to have as snacks I propose that you make healthy food convenient. And this is how…..
The day you get home from the grocery store clean and prepare fruits and vegetables. I realize you may be tired and that you have much more to do during the remainder of your day but trust me, you will thank yourself.
Side Note: When purchasing produce remember the dirty dozen, these are the fruits and vegetables with the highest levels or pesticides. The following are the dirty dozen and you should make a special point to purchase these organic.
6. Nectarines (Imported)
7. Grapes (Imported)
8. Sweet Bell Peppers
12. Kale and Collard Greens
Roast butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and sweet potatoes preparing each as your family likes. I prefer to have the butternut squash with a little olive oil and sea salt, the spaghetti squash plain so the kiddos can place their own topping on it (parmesan cheese and marinara sauce), and I slice the sweet potatoes into sticks and mix with olive oil, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Slice cucumbers into sticks and divvy out serving sizes of hummus for dipping. Slice up broccoli, cauliflower, and green peppers too, all taste great with hummus.
Place a serving size of grapes, carrots, apple slices (with a few drops of lemon so it doesn’t turn brown) in containers. I also like to have salsa (or cowboy caviar, sooo good!!), hummus, Greek yogurt, and peanut butter in smaller containers for dipping. Children seem to really enjoy dipping their fruits and vegetables.
You could also make a few yogurt and granola parfait, these are another fun and delicious treat.
Voila, you just made healthy food convenient. Now, depending on how old your little one(s) is, you can even place these items at their level in the refrigerator and allow them to choose their snack. I have even added a container with filtered water that my 4 and 6 year-old can reach and help themselves to, which is really awesome when they are thirsty and I am not near the kitchen.
So, while I realize those prepackaged foods will more than likely still be in your pantry (and mine, I am still buying the Late July crackers and the TLC crackers because let’s be honest, we can do it all, just not all at once, and sometimes we get by with a little help from our conveniently prepackaged friends, am I right ladies?).