By Charlie Parker - Mavericks Nutrition Consultant
I recently read a funny post about children’s eating habits during the holidays, which resonated with me. Do your children also seem to be constantly grumbling about being hungry and asking for snacks every 10 minutes?! Then when mine don’t get the answer they want they sneak snacks out of the cupboard when I’m not looking! So I feel your pain and hopefully some of my little tips might help.
Keep a routine…easier said that done in the school holiday, I know, but if you can broadly stick to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at a similar times then children know what to expect. Time snacks evenly between meals.
If your child is young and doesn’t have a developed concept of time, try this. Draw a clock on paper and mark in different colours at what time you normally eat your 3 meals and snacks. Then place this next to clock in your house. When they bug you next you can tell them to go and look whether it’s the right time, using the drawing of the clock matched to the real clock.
Be prepared. Stock up on portable non-perishable snacks and stash them in your bag for when you are out and about. This avoids you being forced to buy something less healthy when out. Pssst Mavericks’ snacks are of course ideal for such occasions.
Involve children. Let the help with menu planning, shopping, food prep and cooking. This is a great activity for the holidays as kids love rolling their sleeves up in the kitchen.
Fuel for sport. If your children are doing lots of sporting activities (and more then they might do while at school) you may find they are hungrier and need more snacks. The key is to make sure these snacks are healthy and still portion controlled. Try some ideas from our previous post on Healthy Kids Snacking.
Keep hydrated. Offer water at every meal, snack time and in between, especially in hot weather. Spruce up water with slices of citrus fruit or berries, this helps my little reluctant drinkers.
Read the label. Use nutrition information on food and drinks, making sure they are not too high in calories, sugar, fat and salt. Ideally you want to aim for snacks that are around 100kcal. The Mavericks range have been designed to meet the guidance from Change4Life, they've got more ideas on their page here.